AUSTIN, TEXAS — An economics professor with over twenty years of teaching at the University of Texas in Austin has decided to resign due to his fears that the recently passed Texas law concerning concealed carry on campus will endanger his life. In his letter, published by KXAN, he states his concerns:
“…With a huge group of students my perception is that the risk that a disgruntled student might bring a gun into the classroom and start shooting at me has been substantially enhanced by the concealed-carry law. Out of self-protection I have chosen to spend part of next Fall at the University of Sydney, where, among other things, this risk seems lower.”
For those unfamiliar, Texas legislature recently passed laws allowing concealed carry on publicly held university campuses. This doesn’t go into effect until next year, giving university administrators time to decide how they will adapt to the current change in law.
In terms of those worried about the coming legislature and flirting with ideas of escaping to Sydney, Australia — there’s a couple fun facts to point out. According to the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the city of Sydney does have an incredibly low murder rate. However, when trying to ascribe this to gun-related homicides, those figures tend to buck the idea “fewer guns means fewer gun deaths.”
In fact, according to their 2012 analysis on crime and safety, BDS pointed out the following:
“The percentage of murders committed with a firearm has declined across Australia since 1999 to approximately 15 percent currently. This is often attributed to stricter gun laws passed after the Port Arthur Massacre of 1996, yet gun violence has not declined accordingly.”
So, yes, the possibility of a disgruntled Australian student opening fire on that professor is pretty low. The possibility of that same student defending himself while walking past a liquor store from a mob of drunken gangsters is also extremely low. That’s the trade-off. Yes, you can have guns and you can have bad apples with those guns OR you cannot have guns and you can STILL have bad apples with guns.
Which would you rather have?
Well, Professor David Hamermesh feels like this choice will somehow expand his longevity. However, by leaving the University of Texas, he loses his tenure and any benefits package that comes with retirement. The chances a “disgruntled student with a gun” will make his life miserable is magnitudes less than the idea of trying to live off of social security as an ex-pat in Sydney, Australia, where the cost of living is 46% higher.
In his resignation letter, Hamermesh alludes to other faculty members on campus who are also wary of these new changes in Texan law. One thing that perhaps those adverse to guns may not realize is that the threat of a disgruntled gunman on campus doesn’t change when the new law goes into effect — it just evens the playing field. Perhaps that’s something Hamermesh didn’t calculate for?