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Cal State Lockdown

Caleb speaks of Cal State going ape shit over someone walking around with an assault rifle.  When I was in college, one of the ROTC kids got himself a reprimand for toting an M16 openly down the streets of Philadelphia on his way to our school’s rifle range.  Oddly enough, perfectly legal for anyone to do; open carriage of pistols is illegal in the City of Brotherly love without a License to Carry, but openly carrying a long gun is not, and Pennsylvania law makes no distinction between legal machine guns and other types of long guns.

I’m not sure this is evidence of hoplophobia.  If I saw someone openly carrying what looked like an M16 around campus, I’d probably be a little alarmed too.   It’s not so much the gun as it is that it’s something out of context.  I’m not sure my level of alarm would be lower if the person was in uniform.

41 Responses to “Cal State Lockdown”

  1. Ahab says:

    If it was an AR/M16 type of rifle, I’d be inclined to agree with you, but all the accounts indicate that it was a non-firing parade rifle, which is (usually) an ’03 Springfield mockup with lots of shiny chrome parts.

    This is an example of a pretty typical parade rifle.

    http://www.paradestore.com/detail.aspx?ID=310

  2. Sebastian says:

    It would seem like I need a lesson in reading comprehension, or perhaps not skim so quickly

  3. VariableFeedback says:

    I agree that if I saw someone with an M-16 type rifle walking around Drexel’s campus, I would be somewhat alarmed. I wouldn’t be going into PSH mode, but I’d probably be scanning the area for potential cover, as well as discretely making sure I had easy access to my handgun. Like you said, it’s not about the gun itself, but context of University City that makes the difference. To me, I also think that the manner in which it is carried would make a difference. Somebody in uniform (and looking the clean-cut military type) with a rifle slung over the shoulder is different than someone with a long black trench coat and the rifle carried in hand. All that said, I really don’t know how I would actually react.

  4. DevilYack says:

    At my undergrad college (Texas A&M), we often were treated to the sight of entire platoons of armed ROTC students moving across campus. Last year, they even did a mock assault on the quad, complete with AH-64 Apaches in support.

  5. Sebastian says:

    Does Drexel still have the shooting range?

  6. VariableFeedback says:

    They still had the range in 2004 (the upper floors of Main, it may have been one of the attached buildings, I’m not sure), although I believe that the rifle club has been disbanded, so I’m not sure if the range has been used recently.

    One day I did see an entire ROTC platoon drilling with M-16s on the sand volleyball court. I don’t think that the drilling bothered anybody, but it was early (before 7 AM if I recall correctly) in the morning.

  7. Sebastian says:

    I think the Drexel shooting team was defunct by the time I left. I seem to recall being disappointed that the range after that would be for ROTC use only. Maybe I heard that after I left though. I don’t really remember. I graduated in 1997.

  8. Sebastian says:

    Jesus, that was 11 years ago.

  9. Sebastian says:

    That means I’ve been out of high school for 17 years.

  10. straightarrow says:

    “If I saw someone openly carrying what looked like an M16 around campus, I’d probably be a little alarmed too. “- Sebastian.

    What the Hell was that? An attempt to appear fuzzy an non-judgmental of those who slip willy-nilly into hysteria? You really would be alarmed? With no other stimulation that the sight of the rifle? c’mon!

    I think it proper to be aware of what happening anywhere one is, I try to do that even when I don’t see a gun. But alarmed? really?

    Oh, I went to the store today and spent a couple of c notes for paint and other honey-do crap, and I didn’t see a gun anywhere. I had a panic attack! I couldn’t get my breath, my heart was racing, I trembled all over. Since I couldn’t see any guns I knew they were all concealed and nobody would hide them unless they were going to shoot me when I wasn’t lookin’.

    I know what you were trying to say, which is why I think you are part of the problem. We got in this condition as a nation because we agreed that there were places rights shouldn’t be exercised. First as a courtesy, now it is a mandate. No thanks. I would rather you be alarmed.

  11. Sebastian says:

    I went to school in West Philadelphia. Seeing someone toting an M16 down the street is not an every day occurrence in that part of town, or really any part of town, and if one did see it, one might be inclined to think trouble may very well soon be afoot. If I saw someone walking down the street with an unsheathed samurai sword, I would think that was equally a little alarming.

    Pretty obviously I am not afraid of guns. But context matters. Someone carrying a rifle on the streets of Philadelphia openly is bound to raise some eyebrows. It’s just something you never see people do.

  12. Alcibiades McZombie says:

    1997? That’s the year I entered high school!

  13. DirtCrashr says:

    It’s a Cal-State school, one step (barely) above the Socialist Cadre Brainwashing that takes place in High School here in California, and more of an intermediate purgatory parking-lot between Heaven (High School) and Hell (University) for those students unaccustomed to an alternative, rigorous, educational model… IOW it’s day-care for mid-adolescents.

  14. Ian Argent says:

    I didn’t so much leave college as slip out in the night; but that makes you about a year older than I, Sebastian. Unless you did something that caused you to take 5 years like my wife did (Co-operative Education – get 2 years of paid industry experience at the cost of an additional year before graduation and having to work every other semester. I thought it was a good deal).

    OTOH, I just celebrated 15 years of knowing my wife in September, and since we never felt like we were dating (in retrospect, it seems a little creepy that we went from her being upset with her friends for leaving her alone with the scary skinhead stalker to being “old, married” with no in-between steps (esp since we didn’t GET married until 2000).

    Now that I’ve gone completely off-topic; yeah, a rifle being toted openly would get a raised eyebrow from me also, at least until I evaluated the carrier. No magazine and slung, no huhu. breaking one of the 4 rules might get me a little more interested. Obviously display piece, whatever. Shouldered and looking for a target – time to grab some cover.

  15. Sebastian says:

    I took five years. Drexel does co-op.

  16. Ian Argent says:

    Nifty. That puts you right on my age then (within a reasonable variance).

    While it wasn’t a factor in looking for schools (my 2 final choices ended up being VATech and Stevens Institute), I would strongly advise anyone who asks me to consider the co-op program as a major factor in their college choice. (and I don’t mean internships).

  17. VariableFeedback says:

    The rifle team may not have existed at all when I was there, I don’t really know as I wasn’t in to shooting at the time, and while the range was still there and marked, I don’t know who was able to use it.

    I also agree with Ian Argent about the co-op program, although it is probably more beneficial for students in an engineering / physical sciences / business fields than the more liberal programs. This is just from my experience (now working with one of my co-op employers) and my wife’s (Psychology) experience.

  18. straightarrow says:

    Raise your eyebrows all you want, Hell even open your eyes wide. Pay attention. I think I said that.

    Are you just as alarmed when you see someone driving a car within feet of where you are walking? Or because it is “usual” the higher death rate attributable to automobiles and their misuse somehow in your mind does not cause as much alarm?

    Does that not speak more to your inability to make logical judgments than it does to the need to be “alarmed”.

    Hell, I don’t often see terrapins here,so one might say it is unusual. While it might raise my eyebrows, I can’t say I would be alarmed. Same for horned toads. I do see a lot of snakes and while they can be dangerous, I can’t say I routinely become alarmed unless they are aggressive. Of course, we could call SWAT (Snake Wipe-Out Attack Team), just so people could put their eyebrows back down near their eyes.

  19. Sebastian says:

    If I saw someone driving a car on a sidewalk, or through a public park, I’d be a little alarmed. It’s the context of the act that matters… not the act itself. You’re suggesting because I was alarmed that the man was driving on the sidewalk, that it means I’m afraid of someone driving a car.

  20. straightarrow says:

    No, I’m not. I’m suggesting that because you see a man carrying a rifle you said you would be alarmed. You didn’t say anything about him pointing it at anyone, so unless you do, your driving down the sidewalk scenario doesn’t work. I said driving within a few feet of where you were walking. context, remember?

    I submit that you should not be alarmed because you see someone driving on a roadway within a few feet of where you are walking, unless of course, that someone is behaving erratically or not observing the customary safety considerations. I see no reason to use any other criteria to make a judgment on whether to be alarmed or not because a man may be carrying a rifle within your sight or driving a car within a few feet of where you walk.

    I further suggest that you already know you are wrong or you wouldn’t have felt the need to misrepresent what I did say.

  21. Ahab says:

    Calling Sebastian “part of the problem” is pretty fucking stupid.

    Just sayin’.

  22. straightarrow says:

    Really? Well Ahab, sorry but I see it that way. I do not think he is unique or even in the minority of gunowners. I don’t think he is evil, either. In fact, I have to share some that responsibility with him. I didn’t always realize how hiding what is acceptable can give it the appearance of being somehow dirty or wrong.

    There’s plenty of blame to go around in the gun community. It has been a slow awakening as to how we have shot ourselves in the foot, pun intended. I do not excuse myself either. Sorry if you think that is stupid. I think you are wrong. Awakening is ongoing, I am merely trying to help it along

    But I do take exception when I hear a rights advocate state that open exercise of rights is a shameful or potentially shameful undertaking. That we somehow should be too embarrassed to allow others to know we have the right and we exercise it.

    If we believe what we say we should be working for the day when the sight of such is commonplace and not alarming, even to those who choose not to exercise that right.

    So yeah, I see it as part of the problem when we, who advocate for 2A rights, agree that the exercise of it is alarming and something to be hidden. As I stated above, we sowed the seeds of our own destruction many decades ago when we agreed that certain venues could suspend rights. That our rights weren’t universal.

    We fell into a trap of our own making. We wanted to be sure to consider the sensibilities of our friends and neighbors who became alarmed, so we were courteous and agreed to partial suspension of rights. That act of courtesy has now become a mandate against us in more places than we ever could have imagined. It is difficult to counter the fears of those who are alarmed when we went sub rosa, so to speak, to allay their fears. We have given the appearance that we agree with them that alarm is a proper response to someone minding his own business who is trespassing no others.

    As Sebastian said, it is a matter of context. I just happen to vehemently disagree with his parameters defining context. Someone driving down the sidewalk is a context where alarm is justified, usually. Someone carrying a firearm unsafely, putting others at risk or threatening to is a context that justifies alarm.

    On the other hand, someone driving on the roadway next to the sidewalk is not usually cause for alarm, nor is someone carrying a firearm who is doing so properly and safely.. As he said, context. We just disagree on what constitutes pertinent context.

  23. Alcibiades McZombie says:

    Well, carrying a firearm outside of gun store to/from a car isn’t cause for alarm. Openly carrying a firearm on a college campus is, particularly after high-profile shootings.

  24. straightarrow says:

    Uh huh! and that is the reason used to deny arms to normal people who would never intitiate violence against anybody. That is why they are always unarmed when some monster decides to kill them.

    Because the appearance of caring is more important than actually caring, and easier too.

    If some of those monsters our society has recently suffered and sacrificed our children to would have seen a few or more people walking across campus with firearms what are the chances that they would have had a reassessment of intent at best and a lot less success at worst?

    We only have conjecture to assign a quantitative ratio of odds in the above question, but we can state unequivocally that there would have been a better chance for the innocent than no chance at all, which is what we left them.

    Context, remember? I prefer my parameters that impinge on the equation of actuality rather than the parameters that are established through emotional need and impinge only on perception, a flawed perception, at that.

  25. Ahab says:

    I actually had a great reply written up, until I realized that trying to talk to you is a complete waste of time.

    You’re so convinced and set in your absolutist ways that no amount of reason will penetrate that, and you know what? That’s fine. Call me when shouting “shall not be infringed” and being an absolutist actually gets good legislation passed, or bad legislation overturned.

  26. straightarrow says:

    That is the last resort of the scoundrel in a debate, isn’t it? I can’t talk to you because you won’t accept my position without question.

    I don’t know of one place in this debate where I called for an “all or nothing at all” program in this particular discussion. What I did say was that if we believe what we say we should be working toward the normalization of our views, not agreeing with our opposition that normalizing the issue is cause for alarm.

    I have stated my views on this issue and stated my reasoning and what thread of logic I have used to arrive at those views. You and others here were free to state your views and why and how you reached them and/or why you may think my reasoning faulty. But you have not. You elite few have simply stated that I am wrong and offered nothing else. Evidently I am supposed to believe it simply because you said it.

    You claim you can’t talk to me. Hell, you haven’t tried. You said I was wrong and have intimated that those who think as I do have no business disagreeing with our betters.

    You didn’t examine one premise offered for discussion or show one reason you disagreed. Merely that you believe the other way, therefore I am hopeless. That is so fucking lame.

    And this all started because I questioned the validity of alarm at the sight of a non-threatening firearm on a blog that supposedly is pro second amendment.

    I have tried to state my position in a reasonable manner with malice toward no one, but that seems to have insulted the elite few So I’m all out of reasonableness. I will play your rules, see the following statement.
    So take your superior attitude and your arrogance and shove them up your ass. They can keep your head company.

  27. Linoge says:

    … Wow. As someone who just stumbled into this little conversation, I have to admit that starting out by calling someone “part of the problem”, and then embarking upon a demeaning, impersonation-like snark is not a good way to impress people with your “reasonable manner”.

    Of course, the whole “reasonable manner and malice toward no one” went right out the window with your last comment, now, did it not?

    Regardless, someone carrying a firearm on a college campus would attract my attention, whether it was a prop rifle (though, once I determined that, my level of caring would decrease significantly), a “real” rifle, or anything else – it is just the nature of the beast. If nothing else, situational awareness demands it. But the college going into clampdown over it? yeah, that seems a bit much, for something that could have been cleared up relatively quickly.

  28. straightarrow says:

    “Of course, the whole “reasonable manner and malice toward no one” went right out the window with your last comment, now, did it not?” _linoge.

    You’re goddamned right it did. I have had enough of the bullshit. You want to play dirty fine, I fucking well know how. And you’re right I am at the moment filled with malice. I said I would adopt your rules. What? How dare I assume I am worthy of playing the same rules? How dare I return fire aimed at an asshole that aimed fire at me instead of discussing the issue? Christ ! You guys are delicate.

    As for your first paragraph,Linoge, did you miss all the places where I used the pronoun “we”? You know, as though I shared in having been part of the problem. Or did you miss the whole goddamned paragraph I stated so unequivocally.? Or the part where I did not ascribe any evil intent to those of us who have abetted the popular, but mistaken, fear regarding the issue?

    So,yeah, if you sonsofbitches are so sensitive that you can’t read past the part where a peon dares questions the dynamics we all engaged in that brought us to a place we don’t want to be then you are doomed to ever be affronted. I am not the only peon you erroneously believe to be your inferior.

  29. JNS says:

    StraightArrow, news flash… Everyone thinks you’re an idiot. Stop wasting your breath.

  30. straightarrow says:

    Only weak-willed idiots needing a support group think it.

  31. Linoge says:

    I dunno, JNS, misdirected malice (especially in my case) is always hi-larious. I must have missed the moment when I became part of “the establishment”… ;)

  32. straightarrow says:

    I thank you gentlemen for being so easy. I can only assume my logic and position were unassailable, because none of you addressed them.

    Only my perceived personal shortcomings received any attention while the issues and questions raised were avoided.

    Now we have the mewlings of victimhood when you receive the same treatment you dispense. Awwwww.

  33. Ahab says:

    Actually, I addressed your contentions in my blog, because I didn’t feel like it was appropriate to do so at such length here.

  34. JNS says:

    I don’t address your logic or positions because you’re too stupid to understand when anyone does. Did any of those old injuries hit you in the head? It would certainly explain the brain damage that everyone but you can see you suffer from.

  35. straightarrow says:

    JNS, you’re just pitiful. How the Hell would you know? No one tried.

    I find it pitiful that you act like a member of a cult who thinks he is defending the next Messiah. For Christ’s sake, move in with him.

    This all started because I asked if it was really a valid reaction to be alarmed at the sight of a firearm absent any overt threat. Comment after comment I endured personal attacks on my intelligence and character, but not once did any of you pale blooded cyber warriors engage the issue.

    You think I’m stupid? I will consider that a ringing endorsement. I would be extremely distressed if I thought a man as bereft of intellect or character as you thought well of me.

    Oh Ahab, I answered you on hard copy and set it to sail in a bottle on Caddo Lake, I didn’t think it appropriate to blah, blah, blah.

  36. JNS says:

    Pale blooded cyber warrior? SWEET! That makes me sound totally awesome. Do I get an troll zapping laser as part of the deal that I can use to finally drive you away so I don’t have to read the retarded drivel that you spew out on every post?

  37. straightarrow says:

    Hey, you’re right. Now take your thorazine like a good little soldier.

  38. Ian Argent says:

    I dunno – I’d rather be mentally unused to seeing serious weaponry (rifle/SMG) on the streets to the point of double-taking than to be too blase to it. That’s what’s happened in Europe, where it seems that every third street corner has sprouted a uniform with a SMG at a minimum. (If you deduce that I don’t care for the militarization of US cops, nor for the “aggressive” stance of the NYPD in particular, you get a gold star).

    We’re not living in a black-and-white world; and an open-carried weapon does deserve a second look, as part of any rational person’s situational awareness. Locking down the entire campus is an over-reaction, though.

    I’m not going to touch the remainder of the rant – recriminations on how we got here are pointless. The point remains that we are not currently in a state of “shall not be infringed”; and the majority of the country is not uncomfortable enough with that state to change it. A policy of incrementalism has gotten us farther than I would have believed possible in 1994, at least not in a mere 18 years. There is a debate going on about campus concealed carry; in 1994 it was by no means obvious that we would have concealed carry at all, much less debating about whether it’s appropriate for campus.

    I’ve participated in my share of politics, and the way to advance your cause is not to scream defiance from the rooftops, but to calmly engage in negotiation.

  39. straightarrow says:

    Ok, Ian, I didn’t find anything you wrote to be in error. Some of it was off at a tangent but still accurate.

    “We’re not living in a black-and-white world; and an open-carried weapon does deserve a second look, as part of any rational person’s situational awareness.” Ian Argent.

    Absolutely, I said that. I also said that after the second look and there was no sign of threat, that alarm was uncalled for. I further stated that that is the societal situation we should be working towards. No undue alarm absent indicators of evil intent by persons seems reasonable to me.

    Obviously it does not to Sebastian or others here. I can only assume they do not believe what they preach.

    I suppose, in fairness, I should clarify what I think was tangential to the topic. Your allusion to Europe with a uniform and an SMG on every third street corner is what I meant by tangential to the topic, but still worthy of inclusion. I share your displeasure with the militarization of our law enforcement community and its increasingly aggressive nature, often in contravention of the law.

    Nothing is so disouraging to would be gestapo as an armed and unashamed to be armed populace.

    I cannot argue with your assessment of the success of our co-opting
    of the strategy of incrementalism. I can argue with those who believe we should be alarmed at the mere sight of freedom and the exercise of the rights thereof.

    Oh, and one more thing, 1994 to now is only 14 years, not 18. Sorry, didn’t want to lose my creds as a prick. :)

  40. straightarrow says:

    I attended two universities as a resident student and possessed firearms at both. I matriculated at others, but did not reside there. Nor did I actually carry at any of them. However, I can’t remember any regulations proscribing firearms at either. It just wasn’t done in an America that valued the sacrifices of those who kept it free. Times have changed.

    Hell. I don’t carry now. But I don’t want my right to do so to be negated by accom0daters who would rather get along than be right.

    In the interest of full disclosure.

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