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Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Constitutional Stand earns a Mental Evaluation?

I heard about this on Steve Gill this morning and I have to say, it really set me off.

From TownHall:

College Admins: If You Favor Second Amendment Rights, You Must Be Crazy
By Jon Sanders
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Send an email to Jon Sanders

A Minnesota college student was suspended and ordered to undergo "mental health evaluation" for his response to campuswide e-mails from school officials concerning the Virginia Tech massacre.

The college, Hamline University, a private, liberal-arts institution affiliated with the Methodist Church, has a policy on "Freedom of Expression and Inquiry" that guarantees that Hamline students will be "free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly or privately."

With such a strong guarantee on students' "freedom from censorship and control" by the university, student Troy Scheffler's e-mail must have been horrifically bad to warrant such a crackdown. Right?

Wrong. What Scheffler did was make a gun-rights case for concealed-carry permits on campus to help ward off potential Cho Seung-Huis before they strike Hamline. This was no monstrous act; in fact, it was in line with public debate across the nation following Cho's rampage, not to mention an issue of perennial debate in America. Many researchers, most notably John R. Lott Jr., have shown conclusively that gun ownership itself wards off crime while laws banning guns lead to increases in crimes. Criminals are less likely to strike if they have reason to believe their prospective victims could be armed.

Scheffler had written in his April 17 e-mail reply to David Stern, Hamline vice president of student affairs, that "Considering this university also pushes 'diversity' initiatives like VA Tech, maybe its 'leadership' will reconsider [Hamline's] ban on conceal carry law abiding gun owners... Ironically, according to a few VA Tech forums, there are plenty of students complaining that this wouldnt have happened if the school wouldnt have banned their permits a few months ago."

He added, "I just dont understand why leftists dont understand that criminals dont care about laws; that is why they’re criminals... Maybe this school will reconsider its repression of law abiding citizens rights."

Two days later, Hamline President Linda Hanson e-mailed the campus about Virginia Tech. Scheffler replied to that e-mail also, expanding upon his comments to Stern.

In both messages, Scheffler made it clear to all but the most hysterically inclined person that his advocacy of concealed-carry permits was to protect the students from criminals. Scheffler recognized that this protection would be afforded primarily by predators' foreknowledge that any one of the students at Hamline could shoot back, but also – given that the administrators had both brought up the VT massacre – by students being able to stop a killing rampage before it got started.

In short, what Scheffler wrote was no preamble to a blood-lusty explosion of violence. At worst it was crude criticism of the university administration combined with a stark assessment of the true risk of a concealed-carry society like Virginia Tech's: total defenselessness against a Columbine-inspired mass murderer. Regardless, it should have been protected by the university's stated policy guaranteeing free expression.

Nevertheless, on April 23 Scheffler received a hand-delivered letter from Dean of Students Alan Sickbert that informed him his e-mails were "deemed to be threatening and thus an alleged violation of the Hamline University Judicial Code" and that he was placed on "interim suspension" to be lifted only after he agreed to a psychological evaluation by a licensed mental health professional...

So the kid does what the administration asks, sends his opinion, taking a Constitutional stand on the matter, and he's suspended and told he has to have a psych evaluation before he's allowed to return to school? Is Hamline College in some place other than the United States? Is this a lesson to be learned, that when a college administration asks for opinions, they really don't want to hear what you think? Such elitist thinking. It's no wonder academia is viewed as being a bunch of pompous leftist blowhards who have no substance.

I don't normally advocate this, but my advice to Mr. Scheffler is to get a good lawyer and sue them for violating his constitutional rights of free speech. Totally unConstitutional behavior on the part of Hamline College.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man