College Professor: I love my students but I won’t use a gun to protect them

(Photo: NY Times)

Poet Beth Ann Fennelly teaches at the University of Mississippi and in a recent op-ed in The New York Times, she made her position clear that although she loves her students, she will not use a gun to protect them from an active shooter. 

While talking about her classroom preparations for the upcoming school year, she mentions a tactical prep in which she examines how the door locks, imagines a way to barricade it, and locates the “hard corner,” the corner farthest from the door but on the same wall.  

“The [hard] corner where I’ll drape my body over as many of their 20 bodies as I can, like a sea anemone draping an iceberg,” Fennelly writes.  

“I’m mentally preparing to protect my students from an active shooter,” she continues. “This fact splits my sternum with an ice pick of despair. But please don’t offer me a gun.”

Really, Ms. Fennelly?  At that moment you’d rather be unarmed than armed?  

Everyone has a choice and no one should be forced to carry if they don’t want to.  But at the same time, there is a way to gain some agency in that moment and avoid being relegated to a sitting duck. 

Learn how to shoot!  Become a capably armed individual!  

If you, Ms. Fennelly, can convince students that the “transformative power of literature is hard work,” surely you can also be convinced that becoming a responsible concealed carrier is not an impossible feat!  

In fact, as of 2020, there were over 18 million concealed carry permit holders nationwide, per USCCA.  

I know you don’t think this is a viable solution as you were critical of the FASTER (“Faculty & Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response”) training program put on by the Buckeye Firearms Foundation that’s mission is to arm teachers, faculty, and administrators.  

SEE ALSO: Leaked FBI Documents Equate ‘Militia Violent Extremists’ with 2A Advocates 

What you want, Ms. Fennelly, are the laws to be enforced.   

As you write, “Teachers have hard jobs. Let’s focus our energy on opening minds, not barricading doors. For that to happen, we need gun laws fixed, then enforced. So, hey, lawmakers and lobbyists: Instead of urging those on the last line of defense to take up arms, how about you all on the first lines actually stand up and do your jobs? Then we’d know what good guys look like, at last.”

But enforcing existing laws and even passing new ones are not going to solve this problem.  For example, you tout the merits of, what gun-control advocates call, “universal background checks.” 

A recent article published by Reason.com sums up why expanded background checks aren’t the panacea proponents make them out to be, especially in the context of active shooters.  

According to a recent National Institute of Justice (NIJ) report on public mass shootings from 1966 through 2019, 77 percent of the perpetrators bought guns legally. In some cases, teenagers or young adults obtained guns from their families. Just 13 percent of mass shooters obtained firearms through illegal transactions. In other words, background checks would have been no obstacle in 87 percent of the cases.

While I doubt Ms. Fennelly will ever come around to seeing things my way, the one thing we can agree on is that school shootings are statistically rare events and less common today than they were in the ’90s, as GunsAmerica previously reported.  The widespread hysteria over these events is not warranted.

As criminologist James Alan Fox remarked, backyard swimming pools and beaches pose more of a threat to school children than active shooters.  Over the past decade, roughly 10 children died each year from gunfire at schools (including the Uvalde attack) out of 50 million students nationwide.  

“Hundreds of children die every year in drowning accidents,” Fox explained in a May interview with City-Journal.org. “We need lifeguards at pools more than armed guards at schools.” 

Students should understand that the odds of them dying at the hands of an active shooter are roughly the odds of them being struck by lightning or dying in an earthquake (10 million to 1).  

Of course, these tragic events still happen.  And there are no guarantees for any of us.  Save one, you will fight as you have trained.  

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

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  • Hondo August 15, 2022, 8:10 am

    This is America and you can choose to or not to own a firearm, but please don’t shit on other peoples rights to own and defend with a firearm. Problem with liberals is if they don’t want one you shouldn’t have one either.

  • Earl August 14, 2022, 2:25 pm

    What is she teaching our kids???? She should work with pigs. If you will not protect our kids then how do we know what you teaching them is ok.

  • Gary August 14, 2022, 11:45 am

    As if bullets don’t go through a body. I’ve seen plenty of entry and exit wounds. I do understand her not wanting to fight. Plenty of those who have didn’t want to. We just got angry enough we did.

  • Dale August 14, 2022, 12:53 am

    In my opinion, she’s a worthless POS !

  • The Ghostman August 12, 2022, 6:12 pm

    I can understand her feelings. also, i can honor them. If she doesn’t feel that she can handle a firearm, it’s best she doesn’t have one. She might just believe the old lie that you’re likely to have the firearm taken away and used on you (or your students), fake info anyway.
    During an active shooter event one of the students might pull out a cellphone and during her panic attack, she might shoot the student.
    She sounds like a flake, but I can respect her feelings since not everyone can handle the responsibility.

  • Ed August 12, 2022, 6:06 pm

    Yeah, then when YOU GET SHOT and fall off of the pile, then what? Educated enough to be a professor but, too stupid to think ahead. Yep, liberals are ALL idiots!

  • Allen August 12, 2022, 5:36 pm

    I don’t give a crap if she carrys or not or protects others or not. She’s not teaching children, she’s teaching so called adults. What pisses me off is that the adult students don’t have the choice to protect themselves or not because we don’t treat college students as adults. They pay a lot of money to go to this school and learn, hopefully, something. Or not, it’s their money not mine. But don’t treat them as if this magical place is off limits to natural rights and just because they are all gathered here can’t protect themselves as they see fit. It’s just a place with walls, chairs and mostly arrogant self righteous professors. Not all of them mind you.

    And I hate to tell her but we are all on the front line and all first responders. It’s just how we respond that sets us apart. Some respond by running around screaming waiting to die or for someone else with the means to stop the threat. Others with the resolve and means to save others.

  • Semo August 12, 2022, 2:56 pm

    There is obviously something intrinsically wrong with this “teacher.” I love Dr. Motown’s comment.

  • BobW August 12, 2022, 1:56 pm

    It’s pretty sad to see how many one sided comments there are about this woman. Maybe if cops in this country, especially in Texas, had a pair of balls they wouldn’t have to worry about teachers having guns.

  • E August 12, 2022, 1:02 pm

    So sad! My mother says she doesn’t want a firearm in her house either. I told her it made no sense that she would die to protect her grandchildren while in her care. (I have no doubt she would) instead of eliminating the threat and living for them.

  • scott August 12, 2022, 10:34 am

    Wow what bunch of inane comments. This women does not want to pick up a weapon to protect her children, but she will give her life to protect them, doing the Best she can do.. All of you supposed men demeaning her position for doing something she cannot. You should learn what Man up means and protect the children as Men. Alas the days of chivalry and manliness seems to have gone..

    A real man would do what she cannot[completely] and protect them all.. Pretty weak to berate her for being a Women.. A little more book learning, preferably the Naked Ape would educate you..

    • Willie-O August 12, 2022, 1:10 pm

      There is a big difference between CAN’T and WON’T. Some of the best shooters in the world are women – as a group, women (biological type) have better hand:eye coordination and are much more “teachable” than men (again, biological type). Let there be no confusion – she can, but she chooses not to. Yes, it is indeed her choice and I respect that. How these male commenters are supposed to “do something” given that she is the teacher and will be present in the classroom if something happens I have no idea. Please explain your ridiculous position because it is illogical (ignorant) on its face.

    • Ed August 12, 2022, 6:10 pm

      So, dying for nothing is better than making a stand that could /would save dozens? Yup, liberals are all idiots!

  • Russ August 12, 2022, 9:41 am

    Stupid SHEEP. I am glad she doesn’t want a gun though. Anyone like her should not have one at all. It’s truly for the better.

  • Anymouse August 12, 2022, 9:35 am

    Wat a dum biotch.

  • Ed August 12, 2022, 9:32 am

    Stupid libertard teacher that has no sense. And that is what is teaching our children?????????????

    Can you say victim??????????????

    Those that can do. Those that can’t teach. Never more true.

  • Tim Alsup August 12, 2022, 9:20 am

    A well educated stupid idiot…

  • David Boerboom August 12, 2022, 9:19 am

    This literary giant has obviously never read the book by M. Scott Peck, “the Road Less Traveled” (c.1978)…. If she had, she might actually know what love is… Not that should have to, need to; read a book to know what love is. . .

    ‘love is the extension of your own dreams, goals, horizons & aspirations..these aspirations that you have, so that upon completion; might put you in a better place, with the ability to extend someone else’s…’

    ….that’s not the exact quote, but you get the jist… How can you say you love someone, yet you wouldn’t do everything possible to defend their very life? Not even, “everything possible”; at the end of the day, merely being armed would be the bare minimum.

    AND, how could you say you love your students, yet; would so easily “sacrifice yourself” for them? Who’s going to be around to ‘extend their horizons’ then? How could you be so willing to so vainly die, knowing that you still have more of this “love” to give?

    Well…you can tell she’s a “Ms” …if not, I wonder how her children would feel about her sacrificing herself for somebody else’s children.

    I don’t think my daughter would understand that. I could hear her now, why didn’t he protect himself? I thought he loved me…

  • Ronald Hale August 12, 2022, 6:50 am

    Easy to see why she doesn’t teach logic.

  • St.Michael August 12, 2022, 6:44 am

    mental illness is now a right

  • Jim August 12, 2022, 6:42 am

    I’m a former LEO and current high school teacher. I only wish I had the option of an armed defense to protect my students.

  • Snake August 11, 2022, 3:09 pm

    I tell you guys, she’ll probably change her crazy thinking, as soon as her university faces a Columbine on its own, during which the ones in the first line don’t do their job and wait outside, while she has to realize that she is definitely not a sea anemone. And by the way, there are plenty of rounds that can fly through numerous bodies before they get stuck somewhere, someone should tell her that too. And telling yourself that it is very unlikely that you die in a mass shooting, while a crazy guy comes into your classroom and fires at everyone at will, knowing that no one else but him is armed, won’t help your survival rate either.

    • David Boerboom August 12, 2022, 9:04 am

      No she won’t. She’ll double down on her psychosis.

      • Snake August 12, 2022, 2:17 pm

        Well, I guess you are right, that is why I have used the word “probably”. People can change, as I come from anti-gun parents myself, yet I love and own guns, so I always have the hope that at least some people like her may change as well, especially after they’ve had to face a real tragedy, in which they could have made a big difference with a gun, before a massacre is taking place. Yet, I know that the chance of my hopes getting fulfilled is rather low, with people like her being taken into account.

  • Dr Motown August 11, 2022, 8:14 am

    Perhaps the professor can serenade the shooter with poetry until the social worker shows up🤔

  • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment August 10, 2022, 8:51 pm

    You people don’t want a gun then fine, just don’t expect me to come to your aid since you will surely turn on me for protecting you! Only way I will get involved is if the gun comes my way or my family’s way!!!

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