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AN AGGIE LINE: USU cheerleaders perform during the Aggies' final exhibition game. It's time to cheer for basketball. / Photo by Brianna Mortensen

Today's word on journalism

Friday, November 10, 2006

Q&A with Ed Bradley:

Q: What single issue should be covered more at CBS News?
A: Foreign news.

Q: Have you ever been assigned a story you objected to? How did you deal with it?
A: When I first started in New York at WCBS radio, the assignment editor automatically assigned any story that had a minority in it to me. I objected to being typecast and told him if I didn't get a variety of stories -- as other reporters did -- then I would take it up with the news director.

Q: If you were not in news, what would you be doing?
A: If I had the talent, I'd play bass guitar and sing in a kicking band.

--Ed Bradley, reporter, "60 Minutes," died yesterday of leukemia at age 65 (2006)

No easy answer to the question of guns on campus

By Justin Siebenhaar

October 4, 2006 | A big stir erupted a couple weeks ago among constitutionalists and pro- and anti-gun lobbyists. The events that transpired at a Montreal university when an armed gunman opened fire and shot numerous students on campus have folks ready to throw the baby out with the bath water.

One group that thankfully did not take this small occurrence overboard was the Utah 3rd District Court. For the past few years there has been an ongoing debate about the liberty that law abiding citizens, who hold concealed weapons permits, have to carry weapons on campus at a state university. Many feel the events in Montreal are sufficient to completely prohibit any weapons from being on campus. Actually, due to the tone of these folks, it appears they would prefer to see all weapons confiscated.

The big issue here is over freedoms: the freedom to possess and carry a weapon for protection. There are certain countries that feel this is a freedom no citizen should have; that it's bound to cause more problems than it solves. Most would agree that those who pose a danger to society should not be allowed to have access to such weapons. And this is a principal our law currently supports. However, to say that because some criminals have taken lives with a weapon we should ban all ownership of weapons is asinine.

There are a few problems with the ideals being espoused by the anti-gun folks. What they either don't realize or will not acknowledge is that the only people this type of thinking hurts are those that abide the law. Those that would use these weapons to cause harm to others don't care if they can obtain the legally or illegally. They are going to get their hands on them either way. In fact, that is how most have obtained them, illegally. The old logic goes that you can't argue with a suicide bomber. One who's willing to give his or her life for his cause is probably not going to be very willing to compromise those believes. They're pretty rooted.

But those that posses weapons, and do so lawfully, are less likely to hurt the public. The best way to combat insane criminals with weapons is not to have fewer weapons in the hands on sane people. We cannot stop them from trying to hurt others, but we can stop them from succeeding.

A smaller issue that affects us here in Logan -- and particularly at Utah State -- is whether guns should be allowed on campus. First, let's be clear what we are and are not talking about here. We are not talking about recently released ex-convicts walking around campus with sawed-off shotguns and fully automatic M-16s. We are talking about adults who have been certified and licensed by the government to carry concealed weapons. These aren't people who are going to pull out their "piece'" and start blasting up class because they get a bad score on a test or someone bumps shoulders with them in the hall.

The point is that responsible gun carriers are not the threat. They are more likely to be the solution if these horrible events ever transpire at a university near you. In fact, they are likely to be the only thing that will save you when a deranged lunatic decides to start shooting up Old Main, and you're caught in the crosshairs.

In the end there is a renewed need to have further faith in the system which we espouse to believe in. This country and its founding principles say that gun possession is a right held by the average citizen who upholds the law. A person is not less dangerous -- de facto -- because he is not allowed to carry a gun on university campuses. Nor is he more dangerous because he is allowed to carry that weapon. Punishing the whole because of the rash actions by some is overblown and drastic. And in the end will never solve the problems it's trying to solve.


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