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back to article Student suspended in gun rights email row

A US University has suspended a student after he sent emails suggesting that incidents such as the Virginia Tech massacre might have been prevented if students were allowed to carry concealed weapons on campus. Masters student Troy Scheffler was told he had to undergo compulsory "mental health evaluation" before being allowed …

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Speaking as a liberal...

I find it unconscionable that this student is being threatened with the deprivation of his education, and other sanctions which (as has been pointed out above) may have serious ramifications for his future (including exercise of his right to carry a weapon - whether I agree with concealed carry or not isn't the point; it's his right - and also his pursuit of his education elsewhere). There's a lot in his email with which I disagree; I happen to think that if there were a lot of armed students at Virginia Tech and someone sent around a message stating that an armed student was shooting people, well, the potential for what might be termed "blue-on-blue" incidents is obvious. That isn't the point, however; he has a right to his opinion and a right to state it, and to threaten him for doing so is utterly wrong.

"He wasn't being threatening, though he was being belligerent. He was expressing a controversial opinion, but universities are supposed to support free speech. I would like to see the university forced to take him back, remove any poor marks on his transcript, and compensate him for lost future income based on getting his degree late due to this incident." - daniel

QFT; so what if I think he's mistaken - I might be. The point is that no society is free in which the mere holding and statement of an opinion is a punishable offence. Inasmuch as (being a liberal) I support freedom of speech for those I agree with, and deplore the ongoing removal of liberties from us all, I equally support freedom of speech for those whose views I might deplore.

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Coat

Guns don't kill people...

... Americans kill people!

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Banning guns in the US...

not practical. too many guns, too many borders, too many manufactures.

However the constitution only say 'Right to bare arms' with out specifying what arms are born. The gun lobby area prepared to 'protect the constiution' up to an arbitrary point. Being born in the US of US parents makes you a citizen as soon as you are born. The Constitution therefore protects the rights of infants to own field artillery and the right of any individual to own nuclear weapons. The far right, just like everyone else is arguing for a 'sensible' approach to what the right to bare arms means in the modern world. It's just their definition of sensible different.

Forget the theory look at the facts:

right to hold military weapons - Waco

right to bare hand guns - highest murder rate in the western world.

Death penalty - Prison population 5 times higher (per capita) than rest of the western world.

It seems to the reason most people want a gun is because they fear the other guy has one. Blind fear of the other guy is called paranoia <sarcasm>and who would want that? After all it would only divert peoples attention from real issues like government corruption, economic meltdown, disastrous foreign policy etc.</sarcasm>.

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Long short version

my take (as sopmeone who thinks guns aren't necessary, and nobody should be armed on the street, except a few firearms officers who do NOT patrol with them) is that the boss takes his perogatives as a right did not like someone disrespecting him and telling him he's wrong. Unfortuately for him, he cannot censure someone for saying "you're wrong" no matter how badly they put it. Except by saying "you're wrong, that won't help and here's why...". So he makes some shit up about how he's scared and that allows him to punish someone who is disrespectful of his power over the students.

That's all this is. One gun nut (plenty of them in the states, you can't shoot them all...) and one petulant crybaby with a napoleon complex. As far as overall blame is concerned, the one with the power needs to be blamed: they, after all, are the ones with more power.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Glad I don't live there

Hey Joe,

As a Brit I agree completely, I see no need for guns and see free access to guns in the US as the problem everytime someone gets a little bit too wound up. My Father had a shotgun to take out Rabbits (owing to being a farmer) so I'm not some exactly some city bred "bleedin heart liberal" as the phrase seems to be. It's exactly as simple as you say though.

Here Bloke-A gets a bit psycho because of his missus shagging Bloke-B, hence he goes and kicks the cr@p out of bloke-B/his car/his house etc.

Bloke-A gets nicked and world continues without much fuss, seems a very different story is possible in the US.

The real problem that exists is the US people are not letting go of the "Right to Bear Arms"

Funnily enough we do something similar in the UK. We Brits refuse to carry ID's cards and kick / scream at the Government to never dare introduce ID cards, let alone be required to carry them.

I mean, what a crazy idea! The police would actually be able to identify someone ? Whoa, hold on now, thats a bit strong, something sensible ? You know, the card could have my photo, a fingerprint and an ID number matching a record in the ID database that actually proves I am who my card says I am ?

But no, "I AM NOT A NUMBER!!!!!" Stupid stupid bleedin film.

Whereas most European countries accept this (and I don't see repression of the German, Italian, Czech, Swiss people etc) we see it as a loss of freedom somehow. We're not happy to carry a piece of paper/card as it represents a loss of power, the Yanks are not equally not happy to give up the right to carry guns around.

Maybe this explains the whole culture of fear that helps feed the Bush Adminstration "War on terror". If they don't even trust their fellow countryman then there's no hope for the average citizen from the good'ol USofA trusting someone foreign ?

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Good grief...

I was more shocked and horrified by some of the responses in the comments than by the original article...

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Stopping school shootings

I've got it... Its brilliant.... Its overwhelmingly the right thing to do...

Lets have EVERYONE carry a gun!

I'm somewhat reminded of the plight of Alfred Nobel, who after inventing Nitro Glycerine and Dynamite believed with a weapon that powerful there would be no more war. The 'poster boy' of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction), how wrong he was, thankfully he realised the error of his ways before his death.

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Paris Hilton

Guns are needed in the US

The problem is that banning guns now (with the exception of law enforcement proffesionals) would not prevent such shooting because of the US's relaxed attitude to gun ownership. If the majority of a country with to be allowed to carry guns then there isn't really much that can be done about it, especially when the country is considered a democracy.

Conversely, the University in question has the right to impose whatever rules (not illegal) it wishes on it's students. The university is NOT preventing the student from voicing his opinions, just not allowing him to use their internal systems to do it. In the same way that the NRA may not publish articles highlighting the problems or wide spread gun ownership.

Perhaps he should attend a school which has more acceptable (to him) rules to abide by?

On racism against white people: much like anti-semitism in the mid 1900's, anti-white-christian sentiment is borne out of the fact that that majority is seen as the most powerful in the US at the moment. Perhaps this will change if then next president is not white-male-christian (WMC)? The logical extension is that NOT voting WMC will be the best thing, however who would choose their candiate on the colour of their skin and sex.... oh wait....

Here in the UK there is a serious discussion about banning Ball Bearing (BB) pellet guns, less than 10 years after Dunblane (considered by some to be the catalyst for the banning of hand guns, and tighter private gun ownership in general). So don't loose hope America.

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Dead Vulture

I starting a campaign to keep the Reg British

Anyone with me? Please?

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@anonymous coward

ID cards? I take the view that the government are there to do my bidding as "public servants". They are elected to represent my views. They are not there to monitor/control my views/movements. If anything I want to know more about what they do in my name.

Those wonderful European countries with their long history of democracy? I seem to remember a long list of Corporals/maniacs from said countries that have caused the world untold grief.

The Swiss are per head of population the most heavily armed nation on earth due to the fact that most of them are reservists and keep their weapons at home. Canada has similar gun laws to the US, but somehow the murder rate in the US is somewhat higher?

Methinks there is some other deep seated ill in the USA that blights their culture , it is not the guns, but perhaps a lack of emotional responsibility? to take lifes blows on the chin, and just learn from them? Or do they believe what they see in the Hollywood movies? and the only real man is one that gets even, beats his rival to a pulp, blows him away with a bullet?

I suppose that the general public in the USA do not feel safe if they know that the robber with a gun will get them before any hope of a policeman arriving in time, so no faith in the system of law and order? or just too many criminals?

Plato Where there is crime in society, then there is no justice (Judge Dread too)

Have fun killing each other....

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Weapon to end all wars.

Nobel may have said this. If so he, obviously either lacked the benefit of a Classical education or suffered from an inability to learn from history.

Can't remember exactly who it was meself, but the first recorded use of this particular trite saying was one of the Roman commentators after the Roman army took Syracuse and aquired Archimedes' "Scorpion" (the object latterly recognised as the Roman rope-torsion ballista).

In the "weapon to end all wars" stakes the nearest things so far are the nuclear and thermonuclear weapons, probably best characterised as "the weapon to end some wars, particularly the really big ones". After all, we haven't had any serious, all-out wars since these things came on the scene and, if we ever do, there certainly won't be any more afterwards.

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Britain's safe

Can anyone tell me how many young people have been shot to death or stabbed to death in London - alone - so far this year? Is it 21?

That's only those that Boris Johnson classes as 'young people' and that's only in London and only so far this year. (If BoJo's numbers are near correct.)

So the banning possession of handgun thing's working really well then?

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Unhappy

Bill of Rights Amendments 1 and 2 0, Fascist police state 1

Why is it that the ultra liberal minority that seems to find itself running higher education that espouse free thinking and free speak are always the first to prohibit the same?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Britain's safe

Come on John, lets have a two second think about this and maybe consult some web figures for one second. How's about providing comparison with the total deaths in New York or Washington.

Ok, so using Wikipedia (which is open to intepretation for validity as its a free for all who writes) but also consider there are figures from the UN doc website as well.

Trusting wikipedia for a second, rates per 100'000

USA total firearm deaths : 15.22

England and Wales : 0.46

I can see figures like that are quite confusing to interpret so to answer your question "is banning handguns really working then?"

Most definitley yes!

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@Curtis

Thanks for the clearer explanation of the Castle Doctrine then I had made.

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Coat

Guns don't kill people....

....bullets do. Surely?

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Rob
Mars

Crazy Merkins

I always thought it would just be boring if we all thought the same thing, but man there's some really crazy people pretending to be sane out there in merkland..

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Paris Hilton

Wowsers

Down Under In OZ , they would say what a bunch of wowsers !

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@Sharon Haworth

It's illegal to shoot someone unless it's self defense.

People still do it.

If you ban all guns, what makes you think people will give up theirs?

I wrote a piece in 2002 or 2003 arguing that gun control only serves to tip the scales further in favor of criminals. To grossly summarize, a criminal is less likely than your average, law-abiding citizen to be dissuaded by legislation prohibiting the possession of firearms. As a result, the likeliehood that a criminal's target is armed would drop, which means it's easier (and therefore more desirable) for them to successfully commit crime.

Even more simply:

You can ban them, but whackjobs will still get them. If a whackjob with a gun comes into a college classroom, I'd prefer the classroom be filled with armed students, rather than unarmed victims.

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The reason?

Are we sure he was suspended for his views on guns? Or perhaps it's because of his dismal lack of skills with the written language.

Try reading his email to the university president. Poor grammar, misspellings, punctuation problems, lack of focus, and just plain rude. Yet, supposedly, he's got a bachelors degree in something and half way to his masters in public administration. ?! This is not a person I'd want to be dealing with in any manner of public policy dispute.

Sidenote: The second amendment of the US constitution guarantees citizens the right to bear arms. Why? For hunting and recreational activities? No. Personal defense? Closer. The reason for the second amendment is to allow citizens the means to protect themselves from their government. Darn good reason, no?

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@ Anonymous Coward: Cleveland School Shooting

Hey just to let you know the little bastard who shot those people didn't kill any of them just himself. Thankfully all his victims survived.

And to ever other gun nut that thinks more guns are going to fix the problem:

Why would you want this racist butt wipe to support your cause? He just make anyone is actually sane and has the same views about concealed weapons for protection look nutty.

And to anyone who thinks that this a perfect example of reverse racism:

Any one who thinks that putting a swastika on a bathroom wall is a good way to show your unhappiness with your schools diversity policies is a racist. PURE AND SIMPLE.

But that doesn't mean he should have been suspended. There was nothing threating in his e-mail and just because he is a nutjob doesn't mean you suspend him. just watch him.

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Flame

the proof is in the pudding

More gun control laws, more "gun free zones" over the last decade, the more firearm murders increase.

gee, shouldn't the results be different if all you socialists were right?

The definition of insanity, is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Things like appeasement, gun control, and giving government total control of it's people-these are things you Europeans have been trying over and over for centuries. Hasn't worked for you yet, even going back as far as when Edward tried to ban the English longbow. The French then promptly handed you some of your most humiliating military defeats. You've tried these same irresponsible but hippy-tastic ideas in the 20s and 30s, and failed yet again on a massive scale. Now you're trying to export the same swill elsewhere.

And as Americans adopt these "sophisticated" socialist attitudes, our country descends deeper into the sewer, both domestically and abroad. You wonder why American foreign policy sucks so bad? Because we're following Europe's lead.

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Dead Vulture

Gun control means using two hands.

2nd amendment of the U.S. constitution states militias may bare arms. U.S. Law considers every able bodied male a member of the national guard. Therefore, every able bodied male in America is a member of a militia (the national guard is a militia). Hence the carte blanch rule for American gun ownership.

Some well known facts about owning a gun in America. You must be 18 to own a rifle or shotgun. You must be 21 to own a pistol in all states. The average shooting ending in death in America is committed with an ILLEGAL firearm and not by a law abiding citizen. Second runner up is police actions. Third, every bloke who legally owns a gun defending himself.

Gun control and gun bans only affect the LEGAL acquisition of the firearms! Current laws against ILLEGAL possession are already high ranking felonies.

Outrageous bans and laws affecting legal ownership are quite absurd. However I do have to agree that it works. Just ask Hitler, Stalin, or Mao.

You wouldn't be able to pick me out of a crowd. I do not stand out in any form or fashion. I am not a revolutionary, nor do I abhor my government. I am a veteran of an (unjust) war. I am a law abiding citizen of the U.S. (I even follow the speed limit most of the time) who is a moderate in the political arena. This isn't because of indecision; the reason, to be put simply, is our founding fathers did not believe in a bipartisan government. I could be (and some cases, am) you neighbor.

Springfield Armory .45 GI spec, Walther PPK/S, WASR-10 (Romanian AK), Mossberg 500, and an M-1 Garand.

These things you would never see unless the lives or liberty of others were at stake. I am discreet about my ownership for the comfort of others.

I will not live in a police state. I will not rely on the judgment of lesser men (read as lawyers) to guide my every wakening moment. I will tolerate my elected dictators to a point, but once that point is reached (good chance I will not see it) all bets are off.

P.S.: Don't hate Americans. The majority of us are stupid, but there are still a few bright bulbs.

P.S.S.: Hate American politicians because they have been the root of evil for quite some time, and the ignorant masses continue to elect them time after time.

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Heart

In total agreement with all the rebuttals

As my first paragraph state, the same approach taken in the UK would not work in the US, precisely because of the attitude repeatedly demostrated. It is not about being a liberal anyway, even the most loyal Daily Mail reader wouldn't advocate the right to carry firearms in the UK.

However if JUST having the gun marks you out as a criminal then you can be arrested before you start shooting up the school. More over you would have to have a pre-medidated crime of buying the gun from a criminal, which is a very large social taboo. In the spirit of furthering that special relationship, I can see how it is difficult to understand this because those taboos just don't exist in the US. Think of it like owning a copy of The God Delusion, you wouldn't want you friends to find out.

Full on social reform might help lessen your problems too, an NHS, DHSS (or what ever it is called now) and all those things that "europeans" take for granted. Have to up the taxes though.... oh wait...... lets use the oft quoted formula from fight club and see if it is economically viable.

Thanks for the numbers, although quoting Wikipedia on this site is like quoting The Satanic Verses in Fisbury Park.

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IT Angle

And this is news (and on an IT site) because?

Some guy has been suspended from university. Why are we aware of this?

In a (media driven) world where every action is open to discussion is it any wonder that everyone is nervous? If Hamline University had not suspended Troy Scheffler and he had gone on to upset some other student then, no doubt, these e-mails would have been brought up in court in order to prove Hamline University's 'failure to care'.

In a litigious society the nobody wins.™

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disruptive cya

I have noticed schools have a tendency not to react well to current events they overcompensate bringing in all sorts of problems as a result. Trying to cover your ass by revoking dialog is a silly error in judgment it does not promote safety as of course it doesn't keep anyone from doing what you don't want it just isolates them further.It takes all kinds to make a world and this sort of thing doesn't change anything it just attempts to hide it.

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