There is little doubt that this will be the most controversial column I’ve written to date. But sometimes when working in a university environment one is exposed to ideas that one simply cannot repudiate. And this requires a modification of views – even if those views are deeply held - or very fun, or both.
Such an occasion happened last week on Empty Holster Day – an event sponsored by the College Republicans at UNC-Wilmington. It began as an event designed to convince campus leftists that our laws should be modified to allow those above 21 years of age (with valid concealed carry permits) to carry on campus. But the event actually backfired, so to speak.
First (and Second) Amendment hero Tyler Millage – a junior at UNCW - organized the event. Beforehand, he invited Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo to attend. After the always accessible Chancellor ignored both of his emails he posted an open letter to DePaolo on Face Book – and even brought a hard copy to her office. That got her attention and she responded ninety minutes later saying it would be inappropriate for her to attend and thus interject herself into the debate.
Then, after the local news showed up, UNCW released a written statement opposing our position on the gun issue. The statement was released by UNCW Marketing and Communications. That’s the office in charge of disseminating DePaolo’s political views to the tax-paying public at taxpayer expense. They always keep her name out so she won’t have to actually defend her views. DePaolo is also an English Professor – a position perfect for people who have strong feelings but lack the courage to defend them.
This was reminiscent of the time two female students were murdered at UNCW – both by male students with prior criminal records. I argued for background checks to protect the students. The university (DePaolo) disagreed. ABC’s 20/20 invited both me and DePaolo to express our views on national television. I accepted. She declined. This was after DePaolo publicly expressed the need for open communication on the issue – thus revealing her lack of courage and integrity.
But the same thing cannot be said of the UNCW political science professor who ultimately changed my views on gun control. He had really strong feelings and a willingness to face people who disagreed with his views. That’s why he came to visit our “Empty Holster Day” table last Tuesday.