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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Mailbag

    Assault rifles will make campus ‘safer and better protected’

    I simply must respond to Justin Lee’s paranoid letter in the Arizona Daily Wildcat (‘Assault rifles on campus’ Friday). Lee writes “”Protect and serve. Not scare and kill”” as if the only thing holding back the University of Arizona Police Department from unleashing terrible violence upon the student body is the fact that they currently only carry .40 caliber Glock handguns with a fifteen round magazine capacity (a formidable handgun). It is not like UAPD is going to turn into jack-booted thugs wandering around campus, AR-15 in hand, looking for someone to shoot. These rifles will be locked in a rack in the police cars until they are desperately needed. When they are desperately needed, Justin, you will be glad the police had them.

    Let’s review some facts: UAPD is acquiring AR-15 rifles that fire a single shot every time the trigger is pulled, just like their duty handguns. These rifles are very commonly used by police departments and are popular with the firearms-owning public. The reason that they are commonly used by police departments nationwide and the firearms owning public is because they are effective at delivering accurate shots over a distance.

    Our campus will be safer and better protected once this patrol rifle program is under way. UAPD is acquiring these rifles because their duty handguns are not accurate or effective except at short ranges. Thus, these rifles give UAPD the ability, if needed, to expand the ability, range and effectiveness of an individual officer as responder to an active shooter scenario. Currently UAPD lacks this ability and would have to wait for the Tucson Police Department to bring more effective weapons in certain circumstances. These rifles will allow UAPD to protect students faster (not waiting for TPD) and more effectively (weapons better suited for the task).

    In conclusion, UAPD is only acquiring some rifles that you or I could easily buy, load, throw in the back seat of our car and drive down East Speedway Boulevard with legally. They do not spray hundreds of bullets into the air like a fully automatic Rambo machine gun. They do not possess some kind of special magic that makes people kill and police officers go mad with power. They are tools that, properly used, will save the lives of students and police officers alike. My only two criticisms for UAPD’s program is that it should have been done sooner and that they should be purchasing Rock River Arms, Fabrique Nationale or Colt brand AR-15’s, not Smith and Wesson.

    Bradley Burns
    political science senior


    Rifle plan ’eminently reasonable’

    Reading your news article (‘UAPD to carry automatics’ Friday) and the letter, (‘Assault rifles on campus’ Friday) in your opinions page, it seems ignorance abounds in the Wildcat.

    As someone who is knowledgeable in these matters, let me set the record straight and try to correct some of the more glaring errors in these two items.

    The AR-15 is not an “”automatic.”” An automatic firearm fires multiple shots with a single pull of the trigger. The AR-15 is a “”semi-automatic”” rifle which fires only one shot per pull of the trigger. As such, the AR-15 is also not an assault rifle, which by definition can fire in an automatic mode. The military rifles carried by our soldiers are M-16 and are for all practical purposes not available to civilians.

    The AR-15 rifle fires a 5.56 mm bullet (that’s .22 caliber, folks) from a cartridge that is considered relatively weak and underpowered. Indeed, most self-respecting deer hunters carry rifles in much larger and more powerful calibers in order to assure a quick and humane taking of the animal.

    The AR-15 is, however, a very rugged and tough rifle. It will bounce around in the trunk of a police cruiser for years and work the first time it’s pulled out. The purpose that the University of Arizona Police Department plan to put these rifles to is eminently reasonable, and well thought out.

    No office on campus is currently equipped to handle a situation where a madman brings a rifle to campus, climbs to a rooftop and begins to rack up a body count. Seconds count in these matters.

    Mr. Lee’s memory only extends back as far as Kent State. Let me extend the collective memory back further, to the first campus mass murder: 1966, at the University of Texas at Austin, where Charles Whitman became known as the infamous Texas Tower Sniper.

    This incident could have been much worse as the campus police had no rifles available to them and their issued sidearms were not accurate enough at those distances to keep Whitman from shooting students and faculty as they sought cover on the grounds below.

    Fortunately some “”good old boy”” civilians had their hunting rifles in their trucks – on campus no less ð- got them and began to lay down suppressive fire which prevented Whitman from killing even more students and faculty while the police were able to climb the stairs of the tower and finally kill Whitman.

    Mr. Lee, the armed civilians at the scene were no more or less trained than the police in these matters. They arose to the occasion as Americans have always done, that is before we became ‘wusses’ who quiver at the thought that someone somewhere possesses a firearm. God help us.

    John Luiten
    computing manager
    Department of Computer Science


    Opposing assault rifles hypocritical

    I was brought up to respect law enforcement officers. Nothing in my life has changed that, especially since I have just recently turned 18 and can now suffer more serious penalties for violations of the law. To think that there are people in this school environment who lack the basic respect for the incredibly important people of our society makes me shudder. Justin Lee’s letter (‘Assault rifles on campus’ Friday) brings up the Kent State shootings as an example of “”police gone wild”” as if the university’s police, if given the right tools, will suddenly mutate into fascist dissent-quashing maniacs. Of course, this is completely ridiculous and Kent State was an isolated, although incredibly regrettable and tragic, incident. Giving eight police officers weapons to use in extreme situations is not going to turn this university into a totalitarian war zone.

    I find it very ironic that the left wing of the university’s populace, which just a short while ago was so opposed to letting students have constitutionally-allowed weapons on their person and screaming that the police should be allowed to do their job, gets in a tiff when the police are actually given the equipment necessary to do their job. Hypocrisy is a disgusting thing to see, especially in a university environment where I’d expect the student body as a whole to understand the Constitution in addition to police officers’ roles in society.

    Unfortunately, while arming only eight officers with high-powered weaponry won’t be able to prevent all violent crime, as those police officers can’t possibly be expected to be everywhere at once, I welcome this assistance the officers will be receiving. It’ll be good to know that there are officers on campus able to handle extreme situations. The fine men and women of the UAPD deserve an apology for the attacks made upon them by Mr. Lee. His claim that the police are somehow going to begin “”(scaring) and (killing)”” is absolutely disgusting and is conduct unbecoming of a UA student.

    Kevin Rand Wos
    political science freshman


    War of the Roses a distraction

    Most people are aware that the primary purpose of the UA is education. It seems plainly obvious that this principle demands that activities outside the realm of education should not interfere with this primary purpose. Unfortunately, this notion was abandoned this past week when a large portion of our “”Greek”” population held what appeared to be a kickball competition on the UA Mall while classes were in session. I teach a calculus class in a classroom that is adjacent to the mall. While my students were struggling with a difficult test, these kickball competitions caused an enormous distraction. The noise was simply unbelievable. In addition to the constant roar of crowds jammed so densely that they resembled mosh pits, there were frequent chants of the various fraternities or sororities that were participating. My windows and doors were shut, but that didn’t help. My students could not focus and their performance on the test suffered. Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-Greek. I simply believe that whoever was responsible for planning this event and approving its use of the UA Mall should consider the consequences of this activity on the learning environment. Moreover, those who were participating should be ashamed of themselves. The students of Math 113, section eight are owed a clear and sincere apology.

    Victor I. Piercey
    mathematics graduate student


    Straight Talk Express derailed

    Someone please tell me I am dreaming! Recently, Sen. John McCain proudly accepted the endorsement of John Hagee, a deeply troubled and troubling minister from San Antonio. For those who are not familiar with Hagee, simply peruse his very colorful, fantastic, half-baked publications in the religion section of any bookstore. You will be treated to the most lively anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish, pseudo-patriotic nonsense to be found anywhere in America today. Let’s just say John Hagee is like Rush Limbaugh on theological crack. So much for moderate republicanism. The Straight-Talk Express is making pitstops at the KKK headquarters.

    Tom Donlan
    history graduate student

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