Seven violent attacks in seven days at The Ohio State University campus

By Mark Noble

Often when the issue of safety on campus arises – typically due to news of a violent attack on or near campus like this one, the media and educators assert that they are shocked because “campus is supposed to be a safe haven” from violence. Organizations like The Brady Campaign capitalize on such nonsense with absurd campaigns like “The Pledge”.

Over at “Of Arms and the Law”, they make a good point that:

a person who is not deterred by the thought of life in prison is not likely to be deterred by the thought of breaking a promise

The problem is that violent individuals could care less about the wishes of civilized educated people to be left alone – it’s like lions hunting at watering holes on the African savannah – the criminals go where the soft targets are.

Federal law already prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from possessing a handgun, even for lawful self defense – and even if the individual has had police, military, or other training in the proper use of firearms for self defense.

Older students, faculty, and staff are also prohibited from carrying firearms to defend themselves by Ohio law. My wife is a student at Ohio State and also a firearms instructor certified in concealed handgun and defensive firearm use. My brother is also a student and has undergone Ohio’s concealed handgun training – yet both are prohibited from defending their lives on campus, and as a practical matter, in the surrounding neighborhoods as they travel to and from class each day.

This story near the Franklin campus was only in the news because it involved injury to a police officer. Let’s take a peek at violent crimes where my loved ones go to school over [a recent period of] seven days (10/15/2008 through 10/21/2008).

We see that in that short window of time there were six people robbed and one raped – all situations where defensive firearm use may be appropriate.

The corporate media in town tells me that these attacks “aren’t news” because “they happen all the time”. Could it be that the fact that gang attacks on college students continue to be news BECAUSE they continue to happen “all the time”?

The FIRST robbery (10/15/2008) happened near High St. at 10:01p where a group of black males assaulted the victim and stole his MP3 player and cash. This is not a situation where Mace, a loud whistle or personal alarm, or car keys are an effective defense. The safest way to end a violent robbery by a gang is to respond with a firearm.

The victim was white and lives in the campus neighborhood (the watering hole), the predators (three of whom were arrested) came from an area Southeast of Whitehall, Tamarack Circle area in Northeast Columbus, and the neighborhood Southeast of the I-670 and I-71 interchange.

How does a gang of four people from different parts of the city end up getting together for a night of robbery – and why did they pick campus? They came to the university area because they knew that the statutorily defenseless residents of the area were less likely to fight back.

The SECOND robbery (10/17/2008) happened at 11:05p in the charming neighborhood at Iuka and Woodruff. in this case, two Caucasian males aged 20 and 78 respectively were carjacked from their Cadillac and their cell phone were stolen (along with an expensive textbook). A description of the assailant was omitted from the report.

The THIRD robbery (10/18/2008) occurred at 2:21a when an inebriated white female walking alone in a bad neighborhood was struck in the back of the head and had the contents of her purse stolen. She was unable to provide a description of the suspects. One might wonder how armed students in the campus area could protect irresponsible people setting them selves up to be the ideal robbery target. With concealed carry, the robbers won’t know who is armed and who is not – a sort of “Viceroy Effect”.

The FOURTH robbery (10/19/2008) took place at the CVS* near Lane and High just off campus at 7:14p. My wife frequently stops there if she needs medicine on the way home. I never enter a CVS store without my firearm, and this store is no exception. If properly executed, most of the customers would probably not notice that a robbery was taking place – but if the robbery goes bad and the robber starts shooting, I’d rather be able to fight back than serve as somebody’s meat-shield.

The FIFTH robbery (10/19/2008) at 2:30a near the intersection of Oakland and Adams. Three suspects approached a white 19 year old male (prohibited by law from possessing a firearm), put a gun to his head, and demanded his phone, wallet, and baseball cap. The robbery started when the three asked the individual about the final score of the OSU game.

In candid discussions with me, OSU and Columbus police have been unsympathetic to students walking in the neighborhood. When I was robbed at a COTA bus stop returning home from class one day they questioned why I was in the neighborhood at all and insinuated that I was there to buy drugs or for some other nefarious purpose. While licensed to carry, I the law left me to defend myself with a can of pepper spray. While no property was stolen, my medical bills were in excess of $700.

OSU recommends “walking in groups” and “carrying valuables with you” to avoid robberies and prevent thefts from cars and dorm rooms. Unfortunately, my firearm is the most valuable thing some students carry to campus and and state law requires that the life-saving tool be left in the car or at home.

The public needs to get serious about Concealed Carry on Campus and stop handwringing any time an attack like the one last night destroys their naive view of the world.

Mark Noble is an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor teaching pistol marksmanship and firearms safety to college students on a volunteer basis. He has appeared on FOXNews as a representative for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus at The Ohio State University, and is Chair of the Libertarian Party of Ohio’s Second Amendment Subcommittee.

UPDATE: According to Columbus police, drug store robberies are up more than 400 percent over a year ago, totaling 56 in 2008 compared to 16 in 2007 and only nine in 2003.

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