I have a large backlog of posts I need to get to from my trips to the USCCA Concealed Carry Expo, the U.S. Shooting Academy in Tulsa, and the NRA meetings in Louisville. I haven’t been able to get to those posts, however, because as soon as I returned from my trip to Tulsa and Louisville I started teaching summer school.
I was preparing for class today when news of the killing of a professor by an (allegedly/apparently) disgruntled student (who also killed himself) reached me.
My first thought when I heard this news was to three weeks ago when I posted my final grades for the spring semester and started receiving the usual stream of complaints from students who thought they deserved higher grades than they earned. This happens every semester, and the cases are usually resolved by 1-3 emails from me explaining the grade.
But in a context in which increasingly entitled, increasingly medicated students feel increasing pressure to get good grades, I wonder when one of these students is going to “snap.” And I wonder what I will do if/when he does (in all likelihood it will be a “he”).
One option that is not available to me is armed self-defense. As a private institution, Wake Forest University has chosen to ban everyone other than police officers from carrying firearms on campus.
Here I take some solace in the fact that college campuses in the United States are some of the safest places in the world in terms of the risk of homicide victimization. I have not had time to look for national data on this, but in the 10+ years I have spent at Wake Forest, there have been 0 homicides on campus. And in the 6 years I spent at the University of Notre Dame before that, there were 0 homicides on campus.
Indeed, the fact that a professor was killed by a student is a notable news story is in part because it happens so infrequently.
Which is not to say that I don’t think about it, because if there is only 1 homicide ever on the Wake Forest campus and it happens to be me, the generally low risk of homicide victimization does me no good.
Nonetheless, I do try to put my exposure to risk in context. Much like when I went to Washington, DC following the Paris terrorist attacks last fall, I remind myself that I am PROBABLY safe going to work today, but not CERTAINLY safe. Driving to work poses a risk to me, as does my body mass index, consumption of processed foods, and generally sedentary lifestyle.
Of all the risks to my well-being I face today, being shot by a student is not high on the list. But it is on the list, which means it is something I think about and plan for. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.