Letters to the Editor – 10-26-2011

In response to the Oct. 19 article “Firearms trigger campus debate.”

Given the political unrest that permeates the country, economic shortcomings that affect every social class and daily frustrations stemming from both, I consider myself and every other student on the USF campus to be in danger.

Despite what student body President Matthew Diaz thinks, the fact remains that USF is an open campus bordered by a part of Tampa lovingly referred to as “Suitcase City.” Having been the victim of an armed felon while on campus, in a situation that would have validated the use of deadly force if off campus, I know how dangerous USF can be.

Also, the irony does not escape me that just two days after this article was published, a student was robbed at gunpoint on campus by three men.

I wholeheartedly believe that my constitutional rights should not end at USF’s doorstep because they disagree with the government’s decision that I am a responsible citizen capable of carrying a means to protect myself from those that wish to inict harm and forcefully impose their will.

Diaz also points out the blue lights on campus in the article, saying, “We have effective University Police, we have blue light … I don’t see the necessity to have guns on campus.” I will admit blue lights are a nice safety feature, but let us not forget that when seconds matter, the police are only minutes away.

I am not 21 and, as such, cannot yet apply for a concealed carry permit. However, it is perfectly legal for me to carry a rearm in my vehicle while off campus. Despite the inherent legal risks, I hold by the motto that it is better to be judged by 12 than carried by six. Criminals beware, not all USF students are unarmed and helpless.

Austin DeForest is a sophomore majoring in political science.

Just days after Matthew Diaz claimed that USF “is a pretty safe campus,” a student was robbed in Parking Lot 43. ABC Action News reported the attempted automobile theft of another student. Last month, a visitor strangled his girlfriend on campus after attending a University Lecture Series event.

There seems to be a flaw in the logic Diaz presented. There are also 40,000 students and children in St. Pete, Detroit, St. Louis and Atlanta. If it is legal to carry a concealed weapon in these cities, why not at USF?

With 40,000 students and an ease of accessibility to campus for non-students from the surrounding area, it is difficult to generalize about the school population. Assuming everybody will obey the law or that everybody does not know how to properly carry a concealed weapon is foolish.

Personally, I would only use my firearm if a life were in imminent, identifiable danger. Contrary to popular belief, not every permit-wielder is itching to take down a student wearing a pocket knife. There are numerous, quiet professionals who have similar training to the police on campus. Why should they be labeled as targets while on campus?

Brian Wright is a sophomore majoring in engineering.