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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Letter to the editor: Response to Nov. 9th letter

Published: November 16, 2007
Section: Opinions

Dear Editor,

Wow, Mr. Hogan did an absolutely tremendous job of missing the point of my article (Letter to the Editor, Nov. 9). Im not even mad, thats amazing. Lets just break this down piece by piece and try to make sense of his response.

Mr. Raab, what would happen if you had a knife pulled on you? Are you confident enough in your own self-defense abilities that you would not want help?

This mugging scenario is absurd and out of place, but lets run with it. Instead of the victim, Ill portray the mugger, just to spice things up. If I wanted to pull a knife on someone, would I do it in a place where no one else is around, or within shouting distance of a Public Safety Officer? Hmm, thats a tough one. Lets say I went with the latter option. If the victim starting shouting for a Public Safety Officer and one approached, would it matter whether or not the officer had a gun? Pretty sure Id run either way because I dont want to get arrested.

Without a ranged weapon, the Brandeis police would be required to charge in and risk themselves to save you. Or, according to your article, they would stop, patiently call the Waltham police (or the SWAT team), and wait for the properly armed police to help. By that time, Mr. Rabb, a lot couldve been done.

Wow, I guess Mr. Hogan is right. Calling for back-up to deal with one guy with a knife is not the best strategy. Im convinced. But, oh wait, in my article I was referring to shootings and terrorist attacks when I said Public Safety would have to call for back-up, not random, conveniently-placed muggings.

In addition, your concluding paragraph is so mind-numbingly sardonic that I barely understood your point. I pose this question, if you were able to take the danger of crossing the street away without any harm to yourself, would you? We cannot solve all safety problems with guns, but why not try to stop some of them? That is the opportunity we have here, and it is ridiculous to argue against it.

Mr. Hogan actually missed my point entirely, but lets see if I can clear things up. Ill try to type very slowly. The purpose of my street-crossing analogy was not to say that I love danger. The point is that there is no real danger involved in crossing the street, even though theres always that slim possibility that I could be run down in traffic.

I guess we could build bridges over every street to make sure nothing happens, but that would be a waste of time and money. I know this was confusing last time, so Ill break it down. The street = everyday life. Building the bridge = arming Public Safety. The bridge might make us slightly safer, but its a gross overreaction to a virtually non-existent danger.

The point of my response was that it doesnt make sense for us to live in fear, especially when there is no credible threat to our lives. Keep in mind, the article I originally responded to said we were at risk of being attacked by terrorists. Even Mr. Hogan (who admitted that this is a safe campus) must agree that worrying about terrorist attacks at Brandeis is irrational. Im all in favor of avoiding danger, but I have yet to see convincing evidence that arming Public Safety makes us any safer. Well, except of course from conveniently-place muggings.

– Brian Raab '08