JUSTICE KAGAN: — because — because that’s open for — you know, anybody can walk around the NYU campus.
MR. CLEMENT: Well, NYU doesn’t have much of a campus.
JUSTICE KAGAN: I — I would — I would go back to New York, and I think you’ll find that that’s wrong. Similarly, the Columbia campus.
MR. CLEMENT: Columbia’s got a campus, and I don’t know whether they restrict access there at all. And — and, you know — and maybe, you know, if they don’t restrict access to parts of the campus, maybe those are parts of the campus where they wouldn’t enforce the policy anyways.
That dialogue was between Justice Kagen and attorney Paul Clement during the New York State Rifle and Pistol Club v. Bruen case oral arguments in the Supreme Court on November 3rd, 2021. The topic during that exchange? Whether or not the right to carry would or should extend to the campuses of NYU or Columbia University.
On the night of December 2nd, 2021, Columbia University student Davide Giri was stabbed to death while walking home from soccer practice, as reported by ABC News. Giri was not the only victim during the attack.
A second victim, a 27-year-old man, suffered a stab wound to his torso. He was found nearby, at the northwest corner of Central Park, and hospitalized in stable condition, police said.
While canvassing the area, a 25-year-old man fitting the suspect’s description was taken into custody in Central Park, police said. The 25-year-old “was observed menacing” a third victim, a 29-year-old man, with a knife, police said.
The 29-year-old wasn’t hurt and the knife was recovered, police said.
Columbia said Giri was a student at the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
The scene of his death is near where Barnard College student Tessa Majors was stabbed to death in Morningside Park in December 2019, allegedly by three teenagers who were later arrested.
This is a sad and senseless situation. The friends and family in mourning of Giri’s murder are certainly in our thoughts. No one should have to go through such a horrific time.
While we can sit and rationalize what Justice Kagen was insinuating during the questioning of Clement, that does not mean she’s correct. I could just as soon rationalize the statement “all work and no play makes jack a dull boy”, but that also does not mean that there’s not a deeper symbolic meaning when it’s being said. In this case, “redrum” was committed. That violent knifing occurred when Giri was walking home, just on the outskirts of Columbia’s campus.
Columbia University president Lee Bollinger said in a statement, “This news is both unspeakably sad and deeply shocking, as it took place only steps from our campus. The University is working closely with NYPD to learn more details of the attack.”
While we don’t know all the particulars of the situation, I’m not too sure if they would actually make much of a difference. Looking at what information we do have about the attack from the knifeman and the location, many could argue that perhaps being armed on or near Columbia’s campus would actually be a smart idea. Kagen might be worried about the matter of “campus carry” or there being too many people in these areas, but that did not stop the knifing. That also did not stop the 2019 knifing that occurred in nearly the same location. Criminals have no regard for population density anymore than a train wheel has for a foot. In fact, criminals favor and/or proliferate in locals, as we all know, with dense populations to get their crime on.
Perhaps it can best be expressed by Justice Alito’s questioning when talking to New York’s Solicitor General during NYSRPA. I’m not sure many could lend the situation more justice.
JUSTICE ALITO: There are — there are a lot of armed people on the streets of New York and in the subways late at night right now, aren’t there?
MS. UNDERWOOD: I don’t know that there are a lot of armed people.
JUSTICE ALITO: No?
MS. UNDERWOOD: I think there are people —
JUSTICE ALITO: How many — how many
MS. UNDERWOOD: — there are people with illegal guns if that’s what you’re —
JUSTICE ALITO: Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.
Underwood stammered like someone giving an oral book report on a book they did not read while Alito dropped the mic. How many? Too many, especially compared to the minuscule number of legally armed citizens able to protect and defend themselves against their violent attackers.