Friday, March 7, 2008

"Who better than the people staring down the barrel?"

One of Molly Ivins' favorite stories, which she told more often than Bing Crosby sang "White Christmas," comes down to this punchline: There are some things that won't hurt you, but they'll scare you so bad you'll hurt yourself.

That's going to be my charitable read on this story from John McCain's home state--that we've got a person who's so genuinely worried about responding to a serious problem that making it even worse would still make her feel better because at least it's doing something:

Horrified by recent campus shootings, a state lawmaker here has come up with a proposal in keeping with the Taurus .22-caliber pistol tucked in her purse: Get more guns on campus.

The lawmaker, State Senator Karen S. Johnson, has sponsored a bill, which the Senate Judiciary Committee approved last week, that would allow people with a concealed weapons permit — limited to those 21 and older here — to carry their firearms at public colleges and universities. Concealed weapons are generally not permitted at most public establishments, including colleges.

Ms. Johnson, a Republican from Mesa, said she believed that the recent carnage at Northern Illinois University could have been prevented or limited if an armed student or professor had intercepted the gunman. The police, she said, respond too slowly to such incidents and, besides, who better than the people staring down the barrel to take action?

If Senator Johnson really wants an answer to her question, here's one:

True, that's make-believe, but so is the Senator's notion of a classroom full of armed undergraduates making anyone safer.

A somewhat less charitable read would go something like this: There are some people so dim that they think they could take a terrible and dangerous situation like the Northern Illinois shootings and make it better by throwing in a hail of crossfire and potshots from freaked-out amateurs for good measure.

We could call her bill The Full Employment for Arizona Attorneys Specializing in Wrongful Death Suits Act of 2008.

(Hat tip to Marilynn for passing the story along to me at DL.)

(Update: p3 friend Doctor Beyond reports an outbreak of the same dubious reasoning in the Alabama state Senate this week. Perhaps it has something to do with state names beginning with "A.")

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