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I'm kind of surprised this type of thing doesn't happen more often.
And it'll happen more often as more and more states pass laws allowing students to bring guns onto campuses.
If it can happen in California, then how much do gun regulations matter?
If it can happen even in California, then it'll happen more often... 'let's see, do I have everything I need in my backpack? laptop, check. notebook and pen, check. lunch, check. handgun, check.'
Well, California IS the nation's trendsetter.Poopiehead, I'm not sure the mindset that commits premeditated murder, suicide, or both is sensitive to those laws. But then again, the barrier between thinking it and doing it is substantially lowered when the tool is already in one's backpack, so some hotheads who in the past would have just wrote something scathing on the internet could be "converted". So, I think I agree.I think we might also see a rise in the number of innocent bystanders shot by well-meaning (but poorly trained) armed civilians.
Yes, OPH, that was my feeling, that its increased availability will increase these types of incidents akin to the concept of "if you have a hammer, you are more likely to view a problem as a nail".
The hammer/nail argument makes a lot of sense to me, too. I'm just not sure what to do about the proliferation of hammers, legally and illegally obtained, and the foaming-at-the-mouth support for hammer-carrying by all. It's enough to make one feel all too much like a potential nail.
I'm not really surprised, either. And I don't know what the solution is, since calls for greater gun regulation/restriction just seem to result in strenuous protest/pushback, and there are so many guns already circulating in the U.S. that it seems likely to take decades, if not centuries, for any limitation to have much effect. In some ways, it just feels like the dangers of the larger society are moving on campus, which shouldn't really be a surprise. I suspect the only reason this doesn't happen more often on high school campuses is (a) the presence of metal detectors (which would be impractical on multi-building university campuses) and (b) it's not cool to care about grades in high school. I also seem to remember some stories of murderous grad advisees from my own grad school days, who used a variety of methods (poison in tea bags, if I'm remembering correctly, though I can't find it by googling -- maybe because the incident was in the pre-google era).
I think the narcissism we've been cultivating (as a society) is behind this trend of "my problems are more important than anyone else's and I deserve extreme justice." I also think guns are but one factor, and this WILL take decades to fix.
Cassandra -- You're probably remembering Ted Streleski, a Stanford math grad student (of 19 years!) who killed his advisor with a ball peen hammer. So gun control isn't necessarily the answer . . . .
I do remember that case (vaguely). I'm pretty sure there was at least an attempt at advisor-poisoning-by-teabag, too (it might not have succeeded). One of the issues, of course, is that we tend to let students (even those who seem a little off -- perhaps especially those who seem a little off) to get quite physically close to us, including in one-on-one situations, without a second thought. I'm not about to change that, but it does make a gun less necessary if a student has murderous intent (though guns are still probably more reliably deadly than other potential weapons, including ball-peen hammers, poisoned tea bags, and knives).
Some of the last classes I taught were in 2007, when the Virginia Tech shootings occurred. I remember being very, very afraid that term... even before it happened. The students were so ... incapable? ... of doing basic college-level work. I had problems with them doing research, double-spacing papers, following directions, even just simple paying attention. Not all of them, mind you, but too many of them. But there were 2 really troubling things that happened that really sunk my spirits:1 - The hateful looks students gave on a daily basis. Any instruction, lecture, direction -- even help -- seemed to be met with outright scorn by a large number of the students. Some were excellent, interested, and earned high (or even just decent grades). But so, so many of them just didn't seem to care. And they were openly hostile to any encouragement or correction. I had never encountered this on a scale so disturbing before.2 - The incidence of plagiarism sky-rocketed. So much so that I consulted the department chair for guidance. (He offered none.) The most troubling aspect of this was that, in course evals, a student accused me of specifically targeting black students with false accusations of plagiarism. I'd had colleagues experience that sort of thing before, so I was forewarned of it eventually occurring. But, at semester's close, I did a little tally. EVERY SINGLE black student (specifically African-American students) had plagiarized at least once during the term, and they made up about 20% of the population of 2 courses. Of course, another 30% of the students who plagiarized were white, Asian or Latin, so, for me, that half the class had problems avoiding plagiarism was more troubling. But it was all too much.Couple this with low pay, unsteady adjuncting assignments, an uninterested administraion, and you get me quitting soon after.I still miss teaching, but I do not miss the fear.
The Teabag Poisoner was in Princeton: Link to Philly.com article about it
Aha! Thank you! I was thinking there was a Cal Tech connection (because I think I heard about it from a CT graduate), but it sounds like his Director of Graduate Studies moved on to Cal Tech: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1144&dat=19870329&id=m5McAAAAIBAJ&sjid=NGMEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6914,6189418 . The arrest would have been relatively recent news when I began grad school; probably not surprising that it came up occasionally during grip sessions about advisors (with no participant having any actual intention of following suit, of course).
A faculty member with corresponding email address tells us that it was an intellectual property dispute that was heated and well known internally.
He apparently also killed his estranged wife, and had another professor (who was off campus) on his list of people to kill. So whatever was going on with him, it seems to have been a bit more than a single academic dispute.
Thank goodness the gun-free policy worked:http://www.adminpolicies.ucla.edu/pdf/131.pdfSad story all the way around.