Column Date 2008-03-09

A gunslinger in every classroom

Welcome to the latest example of truly delusional thinking in America.

State Senator Karen S. Johnson of Arizona says she knows how to stop shootings on college campuses. Her solution: let every student over 21 carry a concealed weapon.

The lady is serious. She just sponsored a bill to that effect in the Arizona state legislature, and the Senate Judiciary Committee actually approved it, 4-3!

Ms. Johnson already carries a handgun in her purse (she has a concealed weapons permit, of course).

And she thinks that if students on campus were allowed to carry weapons, a lunatic with a rifle would think twice about opening fire.

Ms. Johnson clearly doesn't understand lunatics. Having worked with writers, cartoonists and film people all my life, I can speak with some authority.

This may come as a surprise to her, but the threat of death is not a major deterrent to a mentally disturbed person wandering around with a loaded assault weapon.

And having hundreds of students on campus with concealed weapons is a wee bit disconcerting, don't you think?

Remember when you were in college? Insecure and trying to find yourself? Drunk every weekend? Hanging around during Senior Slump, looking for something do to? Hormones raging against anyone who even glanced at that cute blonde you were dating?

Are these the kind of people we really want to arm?

I have a better idea: let's protect the folks who are vitally important to America, who decide the future of our country, whose decisions determine how our kids will live.

Let's allow concealed weapons in the United States Congress.

As we all know, it's an august body, consisting of mature, sensible men and women, many of whom already have a 100% approval rating from the National Rifle Association.

Not only would arming this group of elderly citizens make Congress safer, but just imagine how much work would get done!

Threaten a filibuster? You'll be staring up the barrels of a dozen handguns.

Want to add some pork for your home town to the budget? Draw, pardner – the winner takes the whole pig.

Opposed to a "socialized medicine" bill that gives medical care to poor kids? That 'click' behind you is a cartridge sliding into its chamber.

The phrase 'Do Nothing Congress' will become a relic of the past.

So thank you, Ms. Johnson for your fresh, outside-the-box thinking.

By the way, I think you sell yourself short when you describe yourself as a "right-wing wacko".

I think you are an accidental pioneer who has stumbled on a great way to get Washington moving again. 

©2008 Peter Tannen