I have been a life long opponent of gun culture in general & open carry/unlimited access in particular. I have studied the issue for years but one thing that cemented my hatred of guns, though, on a personal level was my experience as a student at Northern Illinois University in ’08. I lived at Neptune East Dorm, which was about 100 yards from Cole Hall, where most of the big general science classes were held on campus. I had a GEO 101 class that got out @ 2pm. I walked back to my dorm. I remember looking out my window of my dorm & seeing an armed SWAT guy and I also remember that I saw my own dorm window on my TV, live and broadcast from a helicopter camera. I ran out into the lobby just as people started streaming into the dorm. They were panicked and some had blood on them. The dorm went into lock down and I found out later that the shooting had happened at 3:05, only about an hour after my class ended. I am autistic so my feelings can be hard for me to express and to understand.
I felt numb over it for weeks but I sort of convinced myself that it had not bothered me at all but I think it sent my depression into overdrive, in an indirect way (or maybe direct? At the time I didn’t see it that way but in retrospect I can see that was probably very naive of me) & I left school soon after. It had been a while in coming, and many other things went into my decision to leave school, but I think the shooting may have made me feel unsafe. I had thoughts of being shot in my class, but didn’t talk about it because I felt I didn’t have right to feel traumatized as I wasn’t hurt and didn’t know anyone who had died very well. I also probably had a bit of PTSD-ish sort of feelings. I don’t talk about that time in my life very much anymore, but it confirmed my belief that any gun designed only to kill or maim a human being is an evil tool that has no place in a civilized society, especially not in schools.
Cole Hall was a packed auditorium classroom & I can’t IMAGINE how much worse it would have been had some open carry people decided to fire back. we can’t control the actions of people who want to do harm w/ a gun but we can make sure that guns are not readily available in public folks who are scared & filled w/ adrenaline are NOT people you want firing back at assailant. No gun class or gun range prepares someone for that sort of situation. A “good guy” w/ a gun in Cole Hall would have led to more death/chaos. SWAT is trained to be calm under pressure, especially not Mr. Weekend Warrior who thinks his 9mm can protect everyone around him. A “good guy” w/ a gun in Cole Hall would have led to more death/chaos. A SWAT Officer is trained to be calm under pressure. Mr. Weekend Warrior is not. The NRA is wrong & only wants to sell guns to enrich its clients in the Gun and Ammunition industries. One should never have to worry if a firefight will break out during a shooting, if the guy next to you will hit you or those you care for out of some surge of macho entitlement or a misguided savior complex. A gun doesn’t make you a superhero, it doesn’t make you more responsible for the safety of others and It certainly doesn’t make you a “good guy”. So when people tell me I don’t know what I am talking about regarding guns and that I should be quiet I respond by saying: I do the research, I pay attention & I lived through a shooting.