Only in America, friends! Or as I said last week: “Jesus Mary and Joseph.” (Actually, for several days the intro to that post read “Jesus Mary and Jospeh,” but I don’t have readers who love to copyedit my blog posts of the sort that Tenured Radical gets. Praise be!) For those of you too lazy to click, I’ll enable you:
A professor at Idaho State University was wounded in the foot on Tuesday when his concealed handgun accidentally discharged in a classroom where students were present, the Idaho State Journal reported.
The police responded to a report of a university employee who had accidentally shot himself in a classroom of the university’s physical-science building. They discovered the wounded instructor, who had an enhanced concealed-carry permit. The weapon was in his pants pocket.
The newspaper identified the instructor as Byron L. Bennett, an assistant professor of chemistry. The police said no other injuries had been reported and no criminal charges had yet been filed.
In March, Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter signed legislation allowing concealed guns to be carried on the state’s public-college campuses. The law took effect in July.
Arthur C. Vailas, Idaho State’s president, joined with the presidents of the state’s other public colleges in opposing the legislation. “When they passed this law it was bound to happen,” he told the newspaper of gun-related accidents on the campus.
I would say that this is like shooting fish in a barrel, but that’s probably making it seem too challenging. Several people notified me about this via email and Twitter, knowing that I’m 3 hours behind most of you these days. As commenter Indyanna’s subject line put it: “Well, that didn’t take long.”
As someone who also teaches in a concealed-carry state, I thought on the one hand, “well, at least it was a professor and not a student who did this.” The perp has terrible judgment, but it’s probably better than your average nineteen year-old. (Maybe? And now he gets to be the a-hole who 1) brought a gun in his pants pocket to class and 2) shot himself in the foot! You know what we say about that, friends: awesome!!!) In fact, we proffies have not been the ones with the guns in recent campus shootings. And unless my uni is going to install metal detectors and Pinkertons at every entrance to every campus building, then “banning” concealed handguns on campus would be entirely ineffective. On the other hand: srsly? Is this your thoughtful, reasoned response as a scholar to concealed-carry rights in your state?
What do you think the students in that class should do? I think they’d be fully within their rights to demand to be transferred to another section or another professor. You better bet that if a student of mine brought a gun to my class and accidentally shot himself that I’d have his a$$ off my class roll instantly. And if proffies don’t have to tolerate that level of recklessness in our students, then why should students have to tolerate it in their proffies? It’s against the Prime Directive of education.
I suppose we should be grateful that Idaho State University isn’t hiring nine year-old Chemistry professors and letting them bring concealed Uzis to class. But the way things are going–in Idaho and in the rolling fields of the republic–I wouldn’t be surprised.