Letters to the editor

I am a proud senior at Tech and looking forward to graduating with my ME degree at the end of this summer. I planned to graduate in May, but the last year my life has been turned upside down by a violent and senseless act.

I am the Tech student who was assaulted, robbed at gunpoint and shot in the chest last May near campus. As I was left for dead on the floor of that parking garage, I relied on my physical conditioning and enduring faith to remain calm as I focused on the critical task at hand…saving my own life.

I love this campus and my shooting was not campus related. I was assaulted off campus by Midtown thugs. Instead of giving up, I am more determined than ever to do my very best in my life to make a positive difference any way I can. I feel safe on campus, and I moved back into the apartment where my life nearly ended because I refuse to relinquish my life’s decisions to angry coercion. My life is not a compromise; it is an explicit journey that only I am entitled to delineate. I will persevere according to my own beliefs, dedication and tenacity. I thought I was invincible, but I was wrong. No one is invincible. Be aware of your surroundings and trust your gut, always!

Crime happens, but I refuse to surrender to intimidation or violence. I will vehemently defend my rights and celebrate my freedoms. I will continue to speak out against oppression and strongly in favor of justice for all. Crime is inevitable, but as a victim, I refuse to let anger win.

My message today is one of hope, fortitude and peace. As an active bodybuilder, I was in excellent physical condition when I got shot. As a muscular 6’4”, 210-pound athlete, I felt I was utterly indestructible. As an Eagle Scout, I had learned survival techniques that I never thought I would need for myself. I am always prepared to offer assistance to others, but never believed I would be caught in dire circumstances of this magnitude or severity. I was wrong.

My motto is to be safe, be prepared and be aware of your surroundings, always. Life is a journey, not a destination, so stay strong, be smart and enjoy every day to the max!

Patrick Whaley

Fifth-year ME

The recent consensus opinion by the Technique editorial board [“Guns not welcome,” printed on Feb. 5] starts off with a non sequitur and goes downhill from there. If anything, the recent on-campus sword attack shows yet again that those intent on causing harm do not pay attention to laws. Under the same code section that bans possession of firearms on campus by most individuals (OCGA 16-11-127.1), the swordsman was prohibited from possessing the sword where he did. He was not concerned with laws against aggravated assault, and he was not concerned with laws against weapons possession.

The board seems to think an “arms race” will ensue if holders of a Georgia firearms license (GFL) are legally allowed to carry weapons on campus and within the perversely-named 1000 ft. “safety zone”. I doubt any of the victims (many of them students) of armed robberies and assaults around campus consider this area to be anything close to a safety zone. The imaginary line did not stop their attackers. Apparently the board would rather the criminals continue to be able to find easy prey at will than adults have the means to defend themselves like the vast majority of other places in the state.

Though a significant portion of the student population would be unable to carry weapons due to being under 21, upperclassmen, graduate students, faculty, staff, and many campus visitors are of age to have a GFL. If these people are capable of keeping themselves from shooting people while being stressed, etc. while off campus (which they apparently are, as we would certainly hear about it otherwise), there is no reason to think they would do so while on campus.

The opinion argues that no one would be able to stop an attack were they to be carrying weapons. This argument is false on its face, as thousands upon thousands of people defend themselves every year with firearms, almost exclusively without even firing a shot—this all without the hallowed “law enforcement training” the board thinks is necessary for a person to effectively defend himself.

The bottom line is that laws only affect the law-abiding. Our current law keeps people from being able to defend themselves based on an imaginary “safety zone” that has been proven time and time again to provide no safety at all. The police are not responsible for your individual safety and are not capable of providing it.

Matt Moseley

2004 ECE

Kudos to President Peterson for his prudent and commonsense opposition to weapons on campus. I hope he and the Regents can stand up to our ‘leaders’ in the Georgia legislature.

In a civil community weapons have no place; they invite tragedy. The inconvenience of the Marksmanship Club notwithstanding, I have a right to live and work in an environment where the threat of death is not on daily display.

Tech has a well-trained, professional security department that operates by the authority of and is accountable to the school and local government. They provide a safe campus.

Shoot on the range. Hunt, like I do, where you obtain permission. Don’t prove your manhood by strapping a Glock to your hip in a public space.

Michael Reynolds

GT Staff

The consensus opinion on guns [“Guns not welcome,” printed on Feb. 5] contained some disturbing arguments and implications which I would like to address.

The first argument alleged that allowing guns onto the campus would increase the severity and frequency of attacks, referring to the recent sword attack as proof. What it failed to acknowledge is that carrying swords on campus, in addition to guns and attempted murder, is still a felony. What this instance highlights is the point that concealed-carry supporters have been stating all along: legislation only disarms those who follow it; anyone who intends to harm another will not be hindered by a law attempting to regulate how they mug, steal, or kill.

The second argument states that crimes will have a higher level of severity when the victim has a gun. While I agree that when someone asks for your wallet it’s better to surrender it, a crime cannot be alleviated by surrendering when the assailant intends to harm, rape, or kill the victim.

The third argument claims that students in college are so irresponsible and volatile, that they cannot be trusted to properly defend their lives. The argument continues, reasoning that a comparable percentage of student carriers compared to the rest of the U.S. will cause a catastrophic amount of crime. It then finalizes its assault, by suggesting that the faculty members are just as incompetent in regards to safety as the drunken, stressed students.

I request that the Technique editors refrain from harassing the members of the campus and that they stop making baseless emotional arguments on important issues.

John Bartz

Third-year CS

Safety is a top priority at Tech, and addressing it is an issue that must be embraced by the entire campus community. We need to be aware that our open campus is in an urban environment that poses some unique challenges that we all must acknowledge.

The Georgia Tech Police Department is here to protect campus and help educate the community on how to best protect themselves. An excellent opportunity to do this is Campus Safety Day, which was held on Feb. 11. I hope you were able to devote some time on Campus Safety Day to educating yourself on crime prevention measures. By educating yourself, you can play an important role in keeping the community safe.

Although our primary focus is keeping our campus secure, we are paying diligent attention to crimes occurring in adjacent areas. We are partnering with the Atlanta Police Department (APD) —which holds primary responsibility for our surrounding neighborhoods—as well as the Georgia State Patrol and Midtown Blue to improve security off campus.

It is imperative that those of you who live off campus and outside of our jurisdiction understand the nature of the living environment. This includes becoming familiar with neighborhood crime patterns, as well as taking the necessary safety precautions after dark and knowing emergency contact numbers.

Our crime prevention unit and APD would be more than happy to work with those of you who live off campus and have safety concerns. We’ve been able to meet with some of you already and make presentations to you and your neighbors.

The Georgia Tech Police Department is here to provide a safe and secure learning environment for you on the Tech campus. I assure you that we are committed to preventing, deterring and eliminating criminal activity on the Tech campus, and we appreciate your partnership in helping us accomplish this goal.

Please feel free to contact my office if you have any suggestions or concerns, and thank you for participating in Campus Safety Day.

Teresa Crocker

Georgia Tech Police Chief