The UNC shooting was just one of a series of high-profile shootings we’ve seen this year. It was only high-profile, though, because it happened on a college campus.
Due to a combination of laws and security measures, the college was locked down immediately upon learning there were gunshots on campus.
We now know that no one else was in any danger, but folks didn’t know that at the time.
Yet it seems that some students who were locked down think they learned a lesson they need to impart to each and every one of us. However, based on this, it was clearly the wrong lesson.
For three agonizing hours, I found myself trapped in the North Carolina Student Union basement. For three hours, I shared the darkness with crying students, not knowing if or when we would get evacuated. For three hours, I was confused, disoriented, and overwhelmed by the prospect that I might be next.
We were inundated with a flood of misinformation and conflicting alerts. “Two dead.” “Shooter at large.” “Multiple gunmen.” “He’s in our building.” Each conflicting report escalated our panic.
Reports that he was banging on doors added to the panic, so we barricaded our door with filing cabinets, unsure if the soft knock that came later was a knock of safety or danger.
August 28, 2023, will forever haunt my school, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. It was the day we were memorialized as part of the growing list of 386 schools in the United States that have experienced gun violence since Columbine.
Now, the author doesn’t see gun control as the only answer, but she clearly says that it’s part of any such solution.
However, let’s understand that the shooting that sent her to lockdown wasn’t a mass shooter. It was one person who wanted to kill another person. It was school policy that locked everyone down, creating the very hysteria that she decries.
That fear of the knock on the door, though?
That’s what happens when you’re not allowed to run and lawfully prohibited from having an effective means to fight back.
UNC students were terrified, and while they weren’t in any danger, they didn’t know that. Yet the law the alleged killer violated in bringing a gun on campus was also the law that prohibited any students, even those with carry permits, from having a firearm there to defend themselves with.
The author argues that North Carolina’s liberalization of gun laws led directly to what happened at UNC, even as she notes that no one actually knows how the alleged killer–a Chinese citizen here on a student visa–got a gun in the first place.
What she skirts around is that there were still plenty of laws meant to prevent this kind of thing and absolutely none of them did.
Yet the law that might have made folks feel a bit safer in this situation, one that would allow people with concealed carry permits to carry a firearm on campus, isn’t on the books in North Carolina.
What happened at UNC isn’t a reason to pass gun control. It’s a reason to end it.