Denial killed NIU students; Denial is alive and well on Ohio campuses

By Chad D. Baus

Following the latest multiple-victim public shooting on the Northern Illinois University campus, radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh focused his national audience on the fact that these shootings keep occurring in what he calls "these wonderful, Utopian, marvelous little college campi that is a gun-free zone."

This is another case in point where you have a liberal gun-free zone, hate-free zone. You go out and say you got something, but you don't got it. Just because you say it doesn't mean you got it. This wacko planned it. He planned it and executed it, and he knew that there wouldn't be anybody else in the time he had to do his damage that had a gun to fire back at him. ...This is just classic symbolic feel-good liberalism that ends up putting people at risk because it fails to recognize that people are different. When it looks at either the demented or the sick or the truly sane who are yet criminally oriented, they look at them as no different than anybody else...

Sadly, despite overwhelming evidence which proves that "increasing gun free zones increases murders," it is clear from media coverage of the NIU Saint Valentine's Day massacre that Buckeye state college students' shroud of denial has still not been penetrated.

From the Newark Advocate, headline Local students saddened by shooting but say they feel secure:

Although they empathize as fellow students with those experiencing the shooting tragedies, most area students said the events did not jeopardize their feelings of security on their own campuses.

“It’s sad, but I’m not going to be freaking out when I’m walking around campus or anything,” said Anna Buoni, a freshman at the Newark campus of Ohio State University and Central Ohio Technical College.

Fellow OSU-N freshman Kristen Cream agreed.

“I guess (a shooting) could happen here, but I don’t really think about it,” she said.

Denison freshmen Sasha Savoulidis and Carrie Pfeil said their campus was so small that it would be hard for a person to be isolated enough for a shooting to happen.

“It’s a small school — somebody will always know something,” Pfeil said.

Both women said they feel safe on campus and are confident in Denison’s campus security.

“I’m never concerned at this campus,” Savoulidis said. “I would be shocked if someone was able to have a shooting here.”

One of the reason students gave the Advocate for feeling a sense of security is that both Denison and the Ohio State University have emergency alert systems in place in case of a campus emergency.

Ohio State’s Buckeye Alert System, available to students on the main campus and all five regional campuses, sends text-message alerts in case of emergency and also can send out a prerecorded phone message.

Denison’s alert system, adopted in December, sends emergency e-mail, text and phone messages.

Yet the facts about very massacre for which they are being interviewed betray their (false) sense of security. According to, while NIU President John Peters says the school responded "quickly", students say it took 20 minutes after the shooting before officials posted a message on NIU's Web site saying there was a report of a possible gunman on campus (the killer and his victims were already dead, dying or injured). Students also report that an e-mail from the university about the shooting didn't go out until more than one hour after the shootings, and they say they never received the text message warning they had been promised.

So what is it about our country that continues to keep repeating the same failed gun control strategy for security and expecting a different result?

In his powerful seminar, Bullet-Proofing the Mind, West Point psychology professor and retired Army Lt. Col. Dave Grossman observes that "Denial is the enemy" that is resulting in massacre after massacre after massacre.

To prove his point, Grossman notes that while ZERO kids have been killed by school fires in the past 25 years in all of North America, 48 died in 2004 due to school violence.

The reason fire doesn't kill school kids, Grossman explains, is that "fire guys have set up multiple redundant, overlapping layers of protection." No one calls such extravagant fire prevention efforts into question, "yet we try to prevent violence," Grossman observed, "and people think we're crazy. DENIAL! ...If teachers can be fired for failure to do fire drills, how much more mean and ugly should we be to those who refuse to prepare for violence?"

Our problem isn't the money, it's Denial." And "Denial has no survival value."

The evidence that denial runs deep on our nations school and university campuses is not hard to find. Consider an op-ed published in the Arizona Daily Star just a day before the NIU rampage, entitled "Future teachers don't want guns in schools":

I put the guns-in-schools question to my University of Arizona English education class.

My students — juniors and seniors preparing to teach in secondary school — have grown up under the specter of campus gun violence. They were in middle school when Columbine High School was shot up and in high school when the UA nursing instructors were murdered. They were contemporaries of the students mowed down at Virginia Tech.
They're smart. They're informed. They understand the risks. Several have experience with firearms.

And they almost unanimously oppose guns in schools.

...These students asserted that schools are, and should continue to be, "safe havens" for learning.

This teacher appears not to have informed her students about the "safe haven" that New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado gave to thousands of potential victims by having armed churchgoers in place when a killer blasted in on a Sunday morning. "Gun-free safe havens" indeed.

And consider the Miami University students and law enforcement interviewed by Cincinnati's

Further cementing the fact that Miami (OH) University is far too soft of a target for me to ever consider sending my kids to, Kelly Cowan, Miami University Middletown dean, told the Middletown Journal she "[doesn't] think escalation is going to help."

UPDATE: For a final example of the rampant Denial that exists on Ohio's college campuses, consider The (OSU) Lantern's editorial "Training not enough":

Accidents happen and a fatal mistake would bode far worse for concealed-carry advocates on campus than a shooting would for the opponents of such legislation. Whether trained students with guns could prevent or minimize the deadly effects of a school shooting is questionable at best and as of yet, there have been no examples of the success or failure of such heroism. We at The Lantern strongly oppose the legality of carrying a gun on campus.

Despite many signs of an ongoing national struggle with the destroyer that is Denial, here may be signs that, for at least a few students and journalists in Ohio, the shroud of Denial is being lifted.

In the aftermath of the NIU massacre, Cleveland's NewsChannel5 looked at crime reports from some of the largest schools in the area, noting that school security is becoming a major concern for everyone on campus, but other crimes (rapes, assaults, muggings, etc.) are scaring some local students as much as the potential for a rampage killing.

Ohio University's The Post is noting that OU police officer Brandon King wants to teach a self-defense course at the university.

UPDATE: An op-ed in The (OSU) Sentinel, entitled "Why NIU Will Happen Again", was written by a female student named Chelsea, gives some hope as well:

I am not an owner of a firearm, and I have yet to receive any training allowing me to carry one. I am not familiar with the tactical use of firearms, nor on what to do with a weapon in a situation where a maniac enters a room and opens fire on innocent people. There are, however, many people who have devoted a wealth of their time to properly using weapons as an asset in self-defense. This isn’t about vigilante justice, or about going “John Wayne” on some crazy ex-grad student – many of the people who are legally allowed to carry a concealed weapon are trained in the art of keeping a cool head, and utilizing their weapon in a way that could seriously cut down the death rate in events like those of NIU, Virginia Tech, and the dozens of other campus shootings that have happened in the past.

It is true that having a gun on you does not guarantee you will save yourself and everyone else around you – but it certainly tilt the odds away from the killer.

The laws against permitting properly-licensed and trained individuals to carry concealed on their respective campuses gives murders like Steve Kazmierczak and Sueng-Hui Cho a serious tactical advantage: they know, for almost certain, that no person in the room they are attacking is armed. By continuing to prevent people from responsibly defending themselves, they continue to give such maniacal killers an advantage over the students the university administrators themselves wish to protect.

All I can hope is that my little brother is in a position to exit easily if an attacker were to start shooting in his classroom – after all, that is the only chance he has given the current anti-self-defense environment of Ohio’s campuses.

And then there is this from the Newark Advocate:

“It’s messed up and it needs to stop happening,” Mike McNitt, a senior at Denison University who is from the Chicago area.

McNitt and Ryan Brady, also a senior at Denison, said it seems school shootings such as those at NIU and Virginia Tech are becoming more of a trend — a disturbing thing to consider.

“It seems like it’s our generation, too,” Brady said. “I never thought about that.”

It's a small step toward the hunting down the Denial that exists in this state, I know, but it's something.

Chad Baus is a Member of the Fulton County, OH Republican Central Committee and the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman and Northwest Ohio Chair.

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