On Campus Concealed Carry: A Perspective from the Unarmed Black Male

I don’t feel safe.

Not because I fear being robbed at gunpoint. Not because I fear someone breaking into my apartment.

For decades, the law has been used to intellectually justify the extrajudicial killings of young black men around the country. There is a pattern of violence from law enforcement against black men and women. There is systemic bias against black men and women that leaks from every facet of society.

If we can’t trust trained law enforcement to exercise their power responsibly, how can we can trust our peers? Will they be trained? Will they be able to fight their own internal biases in the face of a difficult situation? Will they be able distinguish between an innocent student and a criminal?

Last year at a community forum hosted by AASU and GTPD, we fought to remove race from the suspect description in the crime alerts issued via email from Georgia Tech. Do you understand the reason why? Do you realize the incredible vagueness behind a Clery Report that reads “5’10’’ Black male, Jeans, Red Shirt etc”? Can you even conceptualize what it feels like to be considered a suspect simply because you match the description? And now you want us to trust our peers with weapons, even when, as a black man, I am liable to match the description? The crime alerts sent via these reports are almost useless in and of itself in that their descriptions don’t even aid students or law enforcement in identifying the perpetrators of these crimes.

Let’s perform a thought experiment. If the 1000+ Black students on campus armed themselves, would you feel safe? No, seriously. If you knew that every black man/women you encountered at Georgia Tech was armed, would you feel that much safer? Would black students enjoy the equal protection of the law if we were to exert our 2nd Amendment rights with the same zeal as our white peers?

Do you ever consider the mental health of the students on campus? The pressures that Georgia Tech places on its students has resulted in what could be considered a mental health crisis on campus. In what world would I trust a mentally ill man/woman with a weapon? All it takes is for someone to be having a bad day and then we would have a disaster.

I understand your desire for self-defense. Georgia Tech has had many, MANY issues regarding on-campus safety. There are places on and off campus where I simply don’t feel safe. Some of my closest friends have been victims to muggings and robberies. However, campus concealed carry is not the answer. This bill will not make our campus safer.

The state government and legislature are overstepping their bounds with this bill. This is especially true considering that the majority of the student population as well as several professors are against this bill. If you have ANY concerns regarding this bill, let your voice be heard. Call Governor Deals office at 404-656-1776. We pay our tuition just like every other student on campus. We have a right to feel safe at Georgia Tech.

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