Unarmed and vulnerable
Bradford B. Wiles - Thursday, August 31, 2006
Wiles, of New Castle, is a graduate student at Virginia Tech.
On Aug. 21 at about 9:20 a.m., my graduate-level class was evacuated
from the Squires Student Center. We were interrupted in class and not
informed of anything other than the following words: "You need to get
out of the building."
Upon exiting the classroom, we were met at the doors leading outside
by two armor-clad policemen with fully automatic weapons, plus their
side arms. Once outside, there were several more officers with either
fully automatic rifles and pump shotguns, and policemen running down
the street, pistols drawn.
It was at this time that I realized that I had no viable means of protecting
Please realize that I am licensed to carry a concealed handgun in the
commonwealth of Virginia, and do so on a regular basis. However,
because I am a Virginia Tech student, I am prohibited from carrying at
school because of Virginia Tech's student policy, which makes posses-
sion of a handgun an expellable offense, but not a prosecutable crime.
I had entrusted my safety, and the safety of others to the police. In light
of this, there are a few things I wish to point out.
First, I never want to have my safety fully in the hands of anyone else,
including the police.
Second, I considered bringing my gun with me to campus, but did not
due to the obvious risk of losing my graduate career, which is ridiculous
because had I been shot and killed, there would have been no graduate
career for me anyway.
Third, and most important, I am trained and able to carry a concealed
handgun almost anywhere in Virginia and other states that have recip-
rocity with Virginia, but cannot carry where I spend more time than
anywhere else because, somehow, I become a threat to others when I
cross from the town of Blacksburg onto Virginia Tech's campus.
Of all of the emotions and thoughts that were running through my head
that morning, the most overwhelming one was of helplessness. That
feeling of helplessness has been difficult to reconcile because I knew I
would have been safer with a proper means to defend myself.
I would also like to point out that when I mentioned to a professor that I
would feel safer with my gun, this is what she said to me, "I would feel
safer if you had your gun."
The policy that forbids students who are legally licensed to carry in
needs to be changed.
I am qualified and capable of carrying a concealed handgun and urge
you to work with me to allow my most basic right of self-defense, and
eliminate my entrusting my safety and the safety of my classmates to
This incident makes it clear that it is time that Virginia Tech and the
commonwealth of Virginia let me take responsibility for my safety.
This came out after the first on-campus incident at the beginning of this school year, when an escaped prisoner threatened the students at this and another nearby campus.
So, who do you trust? For more information on concealed weapons permits for your state, go to packing.org