Packing While Patrolling

At a time when outrage has become a commonplace sport competition, and where winning is dubious and losing is impossible, the announcement that college campus police would soon carry firearms arrived without any forewarning.

Or, for that matter, no trigger warning (as professors are often required to provide in course syllabi to students about potentially upsetting content).

It was a declaration from the bastion of both liberalism and cynicism. That might be a redundant phrase.

The northeastern university’s president wrote recipients succinctly via an email message.

And there wasn’t a peep in response.

Now, ordinarily, when an announcement of some insignificance appears on a college campus people there do what they’re expected to do. Reply. Frequently and often with considerable passion. Occasionally with expletives, weird metaphors or analogies, lest anyone miss the respondent’s investment in the subject.

Faculty, for instance, are paid to talk and write. And, for better or worse, they do so, often at considerable length with abundant detail.

One might suppose, then, that an announcement that campus police on a previously gun-free (at least among its police) campus would soon be packing would produce a chorus of replies.

Nope. Not this time.

Maybe there were better things about which to argue or whine.

Or maybe current domestic and foreign events put a damper on those otherwise quick-to-respond in outrage. “This is too much!” Or: “This is not enough!”

As usual, I’m exaggerating. But only about the absence of any peeps.

In fact, there was a peep. One peep. A philosophy professor emailed a subset of the president’s distribution list a note referencing the announcement and accompanied by a link to a YouTube video the professor thought might “amuse.”

It was perhaps the least funny video currently on YouTube. Maybe it’s the least funny video that’s ever been on YouTube.

An old hippie (another redundant expression) along with a couple of goofy-looking kids singing a sarcastic song about the virtues of arming teachers, students and classrooms.

In a news cycle that has been fecund (nice word choice, huh?) with stories datelined from college campus and about unrest over sins, felonies and misdemeanors genuine or imagined, this was a story the news media missed.

Presumably I can expect to see mention of the oversight when Columbia Journalism Review reports its top-ten stories the media overlooked.

Oh. Wait. CJR no longer publishes.

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