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Armed for learning

Good SAT scores and tuition assistance are no longer chief prerequisites for entering college. Many of today’s college students are gearing up in other than academic ways to face the many rigors of campus life. For most kids, college is the first experience where they’ll be on their own. It’s also the first time they must rely on survival skills that are more akin to battlefields than to frat houses: Binge drinking and sex exploits pale when compared to armed massacres that murder scores.According to arch-Republican Newt Gingrich, college students ought to be equipped with concealed weapons. That way they can defend themselves against nutcases like Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho, a frightening candidate as the new NRA poster boy.Gingrich remarked recently that students at Virginia Tech, if properly armed, could have shot it out with Cho and limited the slaughter. Given this philosophy, it would be the obligation of parents to equip their college-age children with handguns, plus provide training in how to use them during armed skirmishes in the blood-spattered halls of academia.As if it’s not enough to worry about advanced algebra, students must now worry about gunbattles raging across campus. If Gingrich were in charge, colleges would institute a new curriculum that includes intro to self-defense, freshman marksmanship and barricade building 101.Gingrich prefers escalation to disarming, and since gun control is absolutely verboten as a national debate, the gun lobby is proving successful in arming youth, regardless of whether they want to be armed. The gun lobby did make a concession, however, agreeing to list mentally ill people in gun screenings. This comes as a huge relief, assuming you know who the nutcases are before they shoot down 32 undergraduates in nine minutes.”Mom!” hollers Billy, a college freshman packing for school. “I can’t find the extra clips for my Glock. Where’d you put ’em?””Check your sock drawer, Billy. I think the extra rounds are in there too – the dum-dum hollow points Grandma gave you for Christmas. And don’t forget the Mace. It’s next to your deodorant in the bathroom.””Jeez, Mom, do I have to take that, too? I think I’ll be fine with just the Glock and the hand grenades.””Billy! We want you to survive at least through graduation, so take it all, and I mean the shoulder holster, too. We didn’t pay for quick draw lessons for nothing, and it looks good under your camo fatigue jacket.”Oh … And after lunch, I’m taking you down to Wal-Mart to pick up the latest in personal defense systems. Those designer denim bulletproof vests are making a big fashion statement that all the kids are going to be wearing.”Assuming Billy makes it through graduation without falling to a sniper assault, a suicide attack or a dirty bomb, he’ll be capable of joining the ranks in whatever war de jour we’re fighting. Gingrich and the gun lobby will have made a real American out of Billy by teaching him how to stay alive in the mean halls of Dartmouth.Fortunately, I’ve got four more years to train my 14-year-old son for the rigors of college, including hand-to-hand combat with a protractor, close quarters shootouts in classrooms, and high-tech surveillance techniques in the cafeteria. He may need those skills in high school, so there’s no time to lose.Paul Andersen’s column appears Mondays when he’s not at the Yosemite Sam Target Range larnin’ his boy how to shoot first and ask questions later.


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