There have been two high-profile mass shootings in the U.S. in the last two weeks alone—in Colorado Springs and San Bernardino. It’s already a tough enough time to read the news each day and then you come across this story intro from the Austin American-Statesman: “Gun rights groups say they will conduct a mock mass shooting this weekend at the University of Texas campus as they try to end gun-free zones.” It’s finals week, after all. Where to begin?
For starters, here’s what this totally appropriate, tasteful simulation of a massacre on a college campus where students strapped on holsters before walking to class would look like (from the American-Statesman):
The Open Carry Walk and Crisis Performance Event will involve actors “shot” by perpetrators armed with cardboard weapons, said Matthew Short, a spokesman for the gun rights groups Come and Take It Texas and DontComply.com. “It’s a fake mass shooting, and we’ll use fake blood,” he said. He said gun noises will be blared from bullhorns. Other people will then play the role of rescuers, also armed with cardboard weapons… Asked if he was worried the demonstration, which will be preceded by a walk through Austin with loaded weapons might appear in bad taste following the mass shootings in San Bernardino and Paris, Short said: “Not at all. People were able to be murdered people because no one was armed.”
The scenario the group wants to act out isn’t as far fetched as you might think, as new state laws will allow students at UT to carry firearms to class or in their dorms beginning in August; those with a concealed handgun permit can already carry on certain parts of campus. As you can imagine, the university wasn’t happy with the idea of a mock shooting (by non-students) as a form of protest and said the groups could face criminal trespassing charges for staging it on campus. Come And Take It Texas founder Murdoch Pizgatti told the Dallas Morning News “we’re not planning on disrupting or panicking people” and that they would hold the mock mass shooting adjacent to campus instead.