By Nathan Barton
Events last week at Georgia Tech are one of several examples of “The Year of the Jackpot” situation we here in the Fifty States (and around the world) find ourselves in.
The Blaze’s Matt Walsh had an excellent analysis and commentary on it – from a right-libertarian (minarchist) point of view.
An LG-etc. activist (now confirmed as 21 years old) on the Georgia Tech campus wrote three suicide notes, called 911 to report an armed and dangerous man wandering the area of campus (which was, apparently himself) saying the man had a knife and a gun strapped to his hip, and then went outside, confronted campus police, who (by video recording) asked him at least 20 times to put down his weapon and surrender to them so that they could help him. He then rushed them, with knife in hand, and they shot – and killed – him.
Readers and friends (and acquaintances) know I’m no fan of law enforcement. Even campus law enforcement. But I find myself agreeing with Matt Walsh far more than I do with the dead man’s fellow LG-whatever activists, fellow Tranzis, and fellow snowflakes: this was a pretty clear case of suicide-by-cop. With some pretty obvious political overtones. Yeah, they probably could have tazed him – and he might or might not have survived that or gotten one or two of them at the same time. But he was certainly behaving in a manner that was a threat to the peace and to public safety. And his motives (from the notes and his comments and call) seem relatively straight forward. He is neither “victim” nor “hero.”
Once more, I believe that this incident points out the growing stress and insanity that permeates our society here in the Fifty States: a young man clearly incredibly confused and conflicted, despite his intelligence and (presumably good) education, so warped that he wants to kill himself but will not do it himself: he has to get someone else to do it. That’s not much different than a suicide a couple of years back in one of my communities, where the selfish, sick man committed suicide by driving his little four-wheeler along the highway shoulder and suddenly (and purposefully, according to the suicide note) swerving in front of a semi. It doesn’t take much to understand the agony of the victim in that case (the trucker), does it?
Although I do not blame the police for this, I still think that the method of handling this was completely wrong. The public safety and the peace COULD have been better maintained in several different ways, including isolating him until he either exhausted himself, gave up, or put himself in a situation where he could be taken down (NOT killed) without significant risk to others.
But it is not that the police (campus police, in this case) had much else that they could do in this case. First, because they are given an impossible mission. Second, because they are not (and probably cannot be) trained to deal with this. Third, because he set them up to do the deed for him.
I’ve had a fair amount of contact with campus police over the years, both in my own days at school, and later. A friend is himself (despite our recommendations) on a campus police force. In the “old days” (’70’s in my case) at my school, campus police were basically watchmen – alert for break-ins, odd goings-on, and the like – who called on city or county peace officers for aid when something serious developed. And served as traffic control and parking wardens. Not much else.
But thanks to the massive protests on many college campuses in the late 1960s and since, they have been made full-fledged armed (and armored) cops, cross-deputized and with all the trappings of any big-city police force. Even when their beat and duties completely overlap with municipal or county law enforcement (which has, of course, metastasized into the full-fledged occupation forces of today). Very few campuses are walled-off quarters today – if any are. Their boundaries are nearly impossible to identify or even define. And the mission of their staff has expanded beyond anything that a free people should tolerate in the institutions where (supposedly) the future leaders and experts of the society are being trained.
(Ditto, of course, for sheriff’s offices and police departments and state patrols and everything else today.)
So today, these campus cops are expected to intervene (and solve) every sort of incident imaginable. These can vary from two roommates in the dorms having an argument, to a frat whose “little sisters” suddenly decide they have been turned into sex objects, to massive antifa protests and tar-and-feather situations for guest speakers – and still have to be night watchmen to make sure someone isn’t stealing the explosives from the mining department bunkers or driving on the commons in a big four-wheel-drive truck or taking up three or four parking spaces in the faculty lot.
Part of this is because modern college students are treated as if they were at about the same emotional and social and mental level as, say, sixth-graders were back in the 1950s or 1960s. And part of that is because too many people are expected to go to college and get a degree so that they can aspire to being MANAGERS at McD or BK, rather than just the guy or gal at the counter. And because more and more Americans of any age are treated like wards of the state.
If we want cops to stop killing people, we need to do at least two things. Do a better job of getting people to grow up and accept responsibility for themselves and their actions. And get rid of monopolistic and politically-controlled, “public” cops. Which means, of course, getting rid of mandatory, involuntary, government with a monopoly of force. And, unimaginable as it is today, expecting college students (and even high school students) to be adults.
Mama’s Note: The campus “police” thing has been growing for a long time. In 1980 I was a nursing instructor at a community college. The only “security” thing there was a single person who patrolled the parking lots, looking for and ticketing any vehicle without a permit. Then there was a rape on campus, followed shortly by a person shot and killed in one of those parking lots. Suddenly there was a lot of talk about putting up fences and so forth. The sheriff’s department was not willing (or able) to police the campus full time, or even at night, and there simply was no budget room for a campus police “force,” though it was discussed furiously for some time.
Unfortunately, there was also no effort made to encourage students and faculty to prepare to defend themselves either! Long story short… I resigned and went back to full time nursing. The politics of college life were already terrible before all that, and impossible afterward.
Interestingly enough, there were NO “campus police” at the major (private) university I had come from. And only one small “permit” type parking lot for the faculty – controlled with an electronic gate and pass cards. Everyone else had to manage for themselves – and the free parking lots filled fast.