Anastaplo on the NIU Shooting

by Larry Arnhart


In my previous posts on the NIU shooting, I have suggested that it is not healthy for us to assume that when a gunman bursts into a classroom, the best response for the teachers and the students is to run away. Wouldn’t it be better for our campus communities to make it clear that gunmen will be aggressively attacked by their potential victims? Wouldn’t this provide a healthy deterrent to potential criminals who think they can intimidate us and achieve a perverse kind of glory by their power over us?

A similar line of thought has been expressed by George Anastaplo (Professor of Law at Loyola University of Chicago) in the following “letter to the editor” that he has sent to various newspapers:

“The fiendish attack last week on a hall full of Northern Illinois University students by a heavily-armed madman provoked typical resposes by potential victims: by and large, people dove for cover or ran for exits. It is obviously difficult, when assaulted thus, to resist the natural impulse to flee or to hide, even if one may become thereby a much easier target.

“It would usually be healthier, spiritually as well as physically, if potential victims in such dreadful circumstances had been taught (well before such a crisis) to rush the gunman, shouting vigorously and throwing things at him (backpacks, books, bottles, chairs, clothing, laptops, lunchboxes–whatever is at hand). Putting out the lights might also help. (Arming other students on a campus would probably be, to say the least, counterproductive–and not only because it can ‘send the wrong message.’)

“It would probably help, in any event, if a would-be gunman (no matter how demented) should be helped to recognize (as he makes his plans) that his hoped-for victims can no longer be counted on to remain simply targets, but might even take him alive. he yearns for, and indeed depends upon, much more uncontested control of the situation than he should be permitted by properly-prepared fellow students to count on.”

Previously posted by Larry Arnhart at Darwinian Conservatism on February 21, 2008.

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