Letter: Professor left Utah over concealed carry

Professor Grinols,

Thank you for your viewpoint on concealed weapons for our campus that was expressed in Friday’s Lariat, in the article “Professor’s perspective

My objection to your comments concerns your statement “The issue boils down to the probabilities”. To use your words, you are also engaging “in emotionalism” since the facts – or probabilities as you refer to – really do not back you up. A joint U.S. Department of Education/Secret Service report estimates the odds that someone dies in a school shooting is 1 in 1 million.

I left Utah State University to join Baylor, in part, because the state of Utah passed a law that allowed students to carry concealed weapons on Utah campuses. I just could not see myself spending the rest of my career walking into my classrooms knowing that some students might be carrying weapons…. even though I understood the probabilities and knew that my decision was emotionally-based. As an educator, my job is to teach and to assess. I feel that I can do a better job at both if the students brought only a pen and paper with them to class.

If I were in a classroom where shooting erupted, would I want a ‘good guy’ there with a gun? Absolutely – and I know that’s your main point. But that is one scenario, albeit a very ugly one. I would risk that scenario – based on the probabilities – rather than see armed students and armed faculty in our classrooms. I happen to believe, based on an average of more than 11K gun murders a year in this country, that more guns do not make us a safer nation.

Lance Littlejohn
Baylor Department of Mathematics, Chair