Friday, March 4, 2011

Packing Heat in My Class

Daniel Hamermesh says I should expect guns in my classroom soon:
 The Texas legislature seems likely to pass a law allowing people to carry concealed weapons on campus.  Having observed enough shootings of professors by students in the U.S. over the past 45 years, I think this is a dreadful idea.  But it has interesting implications for wages.  Some people who might be willing to take jobs at Texas campuses will be hesitant to do so.  Unless there are enough others who welcome guns on campus, which I doubt, Texas universities will have to pay professors more — have to pay a compensating differential for the risk of being shot — or will be hiring lower-quality faculty members than before.  Interestingly, although there are many more undergrad than grad students, it seems like the large majority of shootings of professors have been by grad students.  Assuming that’s true, the new law will cause a change in wage differences between those who teach mostly undergrads and those who teach most grads, since teaching grads will become relatively riskier.  I doubt that our legislators thought about the extra labor costs, or the diminution of quality, that their ideas are likely to create.
Time to start wearing a Kevlar vest to class.  At least I will get a pay raise to pay for it.


  1. very good. As we say here, "el que no se consuela es porque no quiere".

  2. Do you think that someone who is crazy enough to shoot a professor will decide against it because of the additional charge of carrying a concealed weapon that will be tacked on top of the murder charge? Alternatively, do you think someone will kill their professor now because, although they will be charged with murder, they won't have the concealed weapon charge?

    I am very skeptical that a change in the concealed weapon law will make a difference in the decision to shoot one's professor.

  3. Anonymous,
    Yes. When there are no constraints on carrying weapons, we will get more of that. Places with higher rates of armed young men will see higher rates of violence.

    But, no, the faculty will not get paid more because of that.

  4. Lower quality it is. Time to retire?

  5. Forget the Kevlar vest and put on a pair of Depends.

    Let's make things perfectly clear:

    The people who this law affects ALREADY HAVE weapons and concealed-carry permits. Every day, they carry their weapons in your supermarket, your movie theater, your hardware store, and in the car that stops next to you at the light. You have thus far survived.

    Do you think that the borders of your university keep out potential murderers better than the Rio Grande River?

    Do you think that the moment you step off campus your life is in mortal danger from the card-carrying NRA members and CCW permit holders? If so, why don't you just sleep in your classroom?

    Do you think that anyone who has conceived of the idea to blow you away at your podium is going to be deterred even slightly by the current prohibition? Do you realize how irrational your current sense of security is given your fear about this law?

    Did you ever bother to research crime statistics to realize that a concealed-carry permit holder is hundreds of times less likely to kill you than a randomly selected resident of your state?

    You're an educator. Don't you think that education is the key for everyone making responsible choices in life?

    Instead of fretting over bogeymen, why don't you buy a firearm, get training, get a concealed-carry permit, carry it for a few months, and see what the big deal is about. We all know we can trust YOU with a weapon, don't we?

    After a month, if you don't care to own a firearm, sell it, burn your CCW permit, and consider it a learning experience.

    If a harmless, peace-loving, person like yourself can carry a weapon for a month and resist the urge to commit mass murder, then maybe you'll have a different opinion. A loaded weapon in your pocket is merely an inanimate object, causing harm to no one.

    Try it.

  6. Aha! The other Nick Rowe, and I, finally meet on the same blog!