Search Results for "high-fashion kevlar vest"

8th 2008
Where can I get a high-fashion kevlar vest?

Posted under jobs & unhappy endings

kevlar-vest.jpgTracy McGaugh at Feminist Law Professors points us to an excellent article analyzing threatening, violent, and/or murderous behavior by students.  The article is co-written by three scholars from different disciplines:  Helen Smith, a forensic psychologist, Sandra Thomas, a nursing professor, and Carol Parker, a law professor.  The title of the article is “Anger and Violence on Campus:  Recommendations for Legal Educators,” but their analysis and recommendations seem to me to apply to all college and university faculty and programs, and perhaps to high school faculty as well.  Read it, and consider passing it along to your department Chair or college Dean.

Historiann passes this along to you, gentle reader, because she’s been feeling more than a little vulnerable since the dreadful events at Virginia Tech last year.  My university is the V-Tech of Colorado, and Colorado is a state where almost anyone can obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun.  And when the state legistlature passed the concealed-carry law in 2003, it specifically excluded college campuses from the list of places one could not bring in a concealed weapon–K-12 schools, and quite conveniently, the Colorado State Capitol building are all on that list, but in universities we’re expected to shift for ourselves.  (In fact, the Capitol building just recently and permanently re-installed metal detectors because a disturbed man with a gun entered and threatened the Governor’s life before being gunned down himself last July 16.)

The only place where I take issue with Smith, Thomas, and Parker is in their conclusion, where they lay the blame on “aggressive role models in television, movies, videogames, and other popular media.”  They cite a persuasive recent longitudinal study, so I see that exposure to violent media is certainly one factor, but where is the discussion of gender and violence?  All school and university killers in the past several years have one thing in common:  they were all boys or men who had access to guns.  Most (but not all) tend to be younger rather than older, and the overwhelming majority of them have been white.  “Anger and Violence on Campus” cites a few examples of women law students who displayed inappropriate behavior to law professors, but it was only verbal aggression cited in the cases involving women students.  So, aggression and violence on campus is overwhelmingly a problem with angry young men who feel entitled to use guns against people they perceive to have wronged them.  Historiann herself has written about the highly gendered aspects of gun ownership in colonial America, so I am amazed that the connection between American masculinity and guns today hasn’t receieved more attention.  (Is the connection between men and guns so naturalized that we don’t question it?  Why doesn’t this alarm us more?)

woman-gun.jpgThe bottom line in this paper is that faculty members are largely on their own when it comes to dealing with crazed students.  Start packing heat, if that’s your style–and if you live in a concealed-carry permit state, then it’s all nice ‘n legal.  (Just be sure to disarm before you go pick up little Emma and Cody at school.)  If administrators at your school don’t take advice from Smith and Wesson, Thomas, and Parker, this article will at least arm you with a little more knowledge about identifying disturbed students.  Have you had any experience with dangerous and/or armed students?  How did you deal with them, and how did your university respond?  Do you think that professors in feminist studies might be more vulnerable to threats and violence from students because our perspectives may especially threaten disturbed young men?

UPDATE:  As Knitting Clio points out in the comments below, sadly there was a fatal shooting with a female perp at Louisiana Technical College in Baton Rouge yesterday morning, which I learned about after publishing this post.  However, I don’t think that one female perp is a meaningful trend when every other example of fatal violence at schools (junior high through universities) has featured male shooters, especially given the longue duree of the connection between guns and masculinity in this country.  How awful for the faculty and students at Louisiana Tech–yet another school whose sense of safety and fellowship in academic pursuit is shattered.


21st 2011
A Modest Proposal

Posted under American history & Gender & GLBTQ & Intersectionality & jobs & race & students & unhappy endings

Reader Swamp Ape brought this to my attention earlier this week:  Jon Wiener, a History professor at the University of California, Irvine, has a modest proposal to make our classrooms safe from gun violence.  “The Arizona legislature is considering a proposal to authorize the carrying of weapons on campus by faculty members. The idea is simple—in case of trouble in the classroom, somebody needs to be able to blast away at problem students. But the question arises, should all faculty members be armed?”

Wiener thinks this might be dangerous–adjuncts are understandably disgruntled, the untenured regular faculty might be unstable, and “then there are the women, the minorities, and the gays—always complaining about ‘underrepresentation’ and ‘equity issues,’ always whining about pay differentials. Guns must be kept out of their hands, too.” 

The lesson is clear: guns on campus should be restricted to the hands of the senior professors—the old white men. They know the importance of preserving order. Continue Reading »


13th 2010
Murder in UA-Huntsville faculty meeting

Posted under American history & Gender & jobs & unhappy endings & women's history


Many of you have probably heard the news of the workplace murders in a Biology Sciences Department faculty meeting at the University of Alabama-Huntsville yesterday.  The murderer is allegedly Assistant Professor Amy Bishop, who was recently denied tenure.  All of the media reports I’ve seen presume that the tenure denial was the motive for the shooting.  Interestingly, the AP story and the MSNBC story I’ve seen finally discuss the role that gender plays in workplace or other mass shootings:  they both note (finally!) that men are the overwhelming majority of mass murderers and the overwhelming majority of people who kill with guns.

The dead are Gopi K. Podila, who was the department Chair, and two other faculty members, Maria Ragland Davis and Adriel Johnson.  Three other victims are alive and hospitalized, but two are critically injured:  faculty member Luis Cruz-Vera is listed in fair condition, but Joseph Leahy and staff member Stephanie Monticello are in critical condition and in intensive care. 

The lock-and-load on campus crowd is already maneuvering to make hay out of this tragedy.  From the MSNBC storyContinue Reading »


2nd 2009
Gun bans: what are we really talking about here?

Posted under American history & jobs & local news & students & the body

woman-gunBaa Ram U. hit the front page of the Denver Post this morning with an article about the ban on guns that Public Safety and the President’s Cabinet have recommended.  The students disagree, although the article does a very poor job of actually talking to students or showing any proof of this beyond the assertions by leaders of the Associated Students of Baa Ram U.  (I’m not saying they’re dishonest, I’m saying that the reporting for this story is lazy.)

The ASCSU student senate tonight is likely to pass a resolution that asks CSU president Tony Frank to keep current policy, which adheres to the state’s concealed-weapons law. It allows someone with a concealed-weapons permit to carry a handgun almost anywhere on campus.

Only in residence halls are weapons forbidden.

Frank will weigh the ASCSU vote in deciding whether to form a different weapons law for the university, said CSU spokesman Brad Bohlander.

Currently, 23 states allow public campuses or state systems to decide their own weapons policies, with nearly all choosing to be “gun-free,” according to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

CSU is one of the rare exceptions, deciding in 2003 to follow the state’s concealed-weapons law. The ASCSU points out that concealed weapons have been allowed at Blue Ridge Community College in Virginia since 1995 and at Michigan State University since June.

Longtime readers already know what I think about guns on campusThey sure as hell don’t make me feel any safer!  But, it doesn’t really matter if guns are “banned” or permitted in classrooms, labs, libraries, and various public spaces on our campus.  Continue Reading »


18th 2009
Guns, threats, space, and gender

Posted under Gender & jobs & local news & students

woman-gun1Inside Higher Ed featured a story yesterday about universities that allow students to bring their guns to campus if they have concealed-carry permits, and states like Texas and Missouri where oh-so-brave state legistlators are working hard to make sure that people can walk around packing heat on their state university campuses.  Guess whose very own Baa Ram U. is a model according to Second Amendment fundamentalists?  Yes, indeedy–this is why I asked last year where I could find a high-fashion Kevlar vest

This has been on my mind lately because of a disturbing incident that happened in a class taught by a colleague of mine in the College of Liberal Arts, in the main classroom building we all use.  She told me that mid-way through a midterm exam a few weeks ago, a masked man opened the door to her 123-capacity lecture hall and started screaming semi-coherently.  Continue Reading »


28th 2008
John Bohstedt: British historian, tough guy

Posted under European history & GLBTQ & unhappy endings


An overlooked detail in yesterday’s terrible shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee is that one of the heroes who tackled the shooter is UT-Knoxville historian John Bohstedt.  According to the New York Times, Bohstedt jumped on shooter Jim D. Adkisson while he paused to reload in spite of the other dangers Bohstedt and the other congregants might have faced.  According to church member Sheila Bowen, “[Bohstedt] moved very quickly and he assessed the situation very quickly. . . . He’s sitting on this guy. [The shooter] had a package with him, wrapped in brown paper and tied with string, and John was afraid that that might be a bomb, so John was screaming at everyone to get out.”

Melissa at Shakesville notes that the Unitarian Univeralist church was targeted by Adkisson because he hated liberalism in general, and gay people in particular.  (The UU church is very progressive, invites gay members, and ordains gay ministers.)  Looks like you might want to start wearing that high-fashion kevlar vest pretty much everywhere in the U.S. these days, my friends. 

When I hear news of the latest (yes, sadly, we can only assume this is the latest, not the last) shooting in a school, a church, or other public spaces, like many of you perhaps, I wonder how I would react and if I would muster the kind of metal clarity and physical courage that Professor Bohstedt showed.  His example is very inspiring, but what a world we live in where that kind of bravery is called upon so frequently.  My heart goes out to the TVUUC community and their friends and allies in Knoxville and beyond. 

UPDATED, 7/29/08:  See this description of the attack at TVUUC by a church member who was present Sunday morning.  She gives a moving account of the heroism of Greg McKendry, the first shooting victim who was shot at point-blank range trying to shield others from the bullets.  She also reports that other people saw John Bohstedt take down the shooter in a “flying tackle.”


15th 2008
Heartbreaking. Now where is our outrage?

Posted under American history & Gender & unhappy endings

Well, another campus has been visited with death and destructionSix Five innocent students dead (so far) and fifteen sixteen wounded, including the graduate student instructor.  When I wrote the post Where can I get a high-fashion kevlar vest? last Friday morning, I was a bit prankish in tone at the end.  I should probably clarify my position:  I don’t actually think faculty and students should arm themselves for combat when going to class.  I’m outraged at the crazy right-wing gun nuts whose response to the Virginia Tech murders was “well, those wimpy students should have armed themselves so that they could take the shooter down.”  I think there’s nothing more destructive of creating a mutually respectful culture of learning than these murders and the chorus of gun nuts who believe that more guns in classrooms is the answer.  My suggestion that people should “start packing heat, if that’s your style,” was more an expression of frustration at our political culture’s inability to ensure our safety in schools and universities than a clarion call for faculty to “lock’n’load.”

One of my hooks for that post was that I saw little if any discussion about gender in the mainstream media analyses of these mass shootings–which is strange, because they are overwhelmingly committed by boys and men, and you know if they were mostly committed by women, that would be considered a very notable fact.  In the comments to that post, Nick corrected me gently and pointed out that sociologist Michael Kimmel has written about masculinity and gender issues in these mass shootings.  His article, “Adolescent Masculinity, Homophobia, and Violence (2003) analyzes junior high and high-school shootings from 1982-2001, and makes a persuasive case that gender is clearly an issue in the 1990s school shootings, as he found that “nearly all had stories of being constantly bullied, beaten up, and, most significantly for this analysis, ‘gay-baited,’” (p. 1445), not because they were gay, but because they didn’t conform to a particular performance of masculinity.  I’m not sure that his analysis is entirely useful for understanding the more recent mass-shootings of the 2000s, which appear to involve older perpetrators (men in their late teens and early 20s, instead of school-age boys) engaged in more random attacks (in Salt Lake City, Virginia TechOmaha, Denver/Colorado Springs, and now Northern Illinois University.  Mind you–that’s just the random mass shootings that have occured in the last year, from February 12, 2007 to February 14, 2008!)  Still, it’s a solid and accessible academic article that attempts to grapple with the overwhelming fact that troubled boys and men are much more prone to pick up guns than girls and women are.

What the hell kind of country is this?  Is there really no way to 1) divest ourselves of gun worship and home arsenals, 2) strictly limit firearms access to stable, mentally healthy people, and 3) screen for and identify potentially troubled students who might be prone to violence?  (Knitting Clio asks, relative to point #3, “Why do the responses to such shootings never include increasing funding for mental health services to students?”  She is right–mental health services should not be restricted just to identifying and eliminating potentially violent students.  They should get treatment, too.)  Why isn’t this a bigger priority in our politics?  Is the big, bad gun lobby really more terrifying than seeing another episode of mass carnage in the newspaper?  Really?  Think of the hundreds–hundreds–of parents who are grieving and bereft now because their children went to school or college, like their parents hoped they would, and went to class like they were supposed to.

If you’re interested, here is some information on women’s Kevlar vests.  They range in price from $380-$549, so it’s not a trivial investment, but I’m not ruling it out.  I’m starting to think that faculty should organize to demand them in their benefits packages–a one-time purchase that’s surely less expensive than running a search to replace a dead colleague. 


19th 2010
Late April watching and waiting

Posted under American history & captivity & jobs & local news & students & unhappy endings

Stanley Fish reminds us that today is the fifteenth annivarsary of the Oklahoma City bombings, and that April 19 is significant to domestic terrorists for many reasons, but most of all because it was also the day of the invasion and burning of the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas in 1993:

For those who fear government and hold fiercely to the motto of New Hampshire — “Live Free or Die” — April 19 is both a holy and an unholy day; unholy because it marks the naked exercise of state power (at least in the case of Waco and before that of Ruby Ridge), and holy because it serves as a rallying cry for those who wish to “take back” their country from the socialists, communists and one-worlders who, they believe, have hijacked it. Blogger Eric Boehlert declares on that “April 19th remains an almost mythical date among dedicated government haters.”

For the government, April 19 is a day to worry about. When F.B.I. agents arrested nine members of the Christian militia known as the Hutaree in late March, they acted because of information indicating that the group was planning an attack on police officers sometime in April. The betting is that the date they had in mind was April 19. Continue Reading »