One day after students at DePaul University were evacuated in response to a bomb threat, more than a dozen student activists hung holsters on their hips to protest state laws and university policies that prohibit concealed weapons on college campuses.
Mick Paskiewicz, vice president of the DePaul Conservative Alliance and organizer of the protests, said students have a divine right to defend themselves. After all, he said, that’s what a Catholic university is all about.
quot;All of our freedoms and rights are God-given,” said Paskiewicz. He sees a direct correlation between the Bill of Rights and the higher power that guided the founding fathers who wrote them. “If we tie them to God, then no single man has the right to take those rights away,” he said.
To support his arguments, Paskiewicz looks to Pope Benedict XVI, who urged presidents of Catholic colleges and universities last week to blot out the moral relativism that threatens the Catholic identity of their campuses by reminding students that their rights and freedoms come from God.
But over the past two weeks, both before and after the pope’s visit, two of Chicago’s Catholic colleges have been tending to threats of a different kind—threats to the safety of their students.
On April 11, administrators at St. Xavier University shut down the campus for three days after death threats were scrawled on the bathroom wall of a freshman coed dorm. The closure also prompted four nearby elementary and high schools to close for a day.
At DePaul, students evacuated buildings Monday night in response to a bomb threat. Classes resumed today.
Paskiewicz said he wondered if the day after the evacuation would be too soon to stage a protest. He decided to proceed because there would be “even more of an awareness of how vulnerable DePaul can be.”
“Announcing gun-free zones gives criminals who already aren’t going to abide by the law an easy target,” he said. “They know they’re not going to be contested if they decide to engage in murderous acts. It sounds like a vigilante effort but it’s really not.”
In the past year, DePaul’s Conservative Alliance has organized weeks devoted to discussions about Islamofascism and Catholicism. The purpose of the latter event was to foster dialogue about preserving the school’s Catholic identity and the church’s stance on issues including the war in Iraq.
Do you see a correlation between the church’s defense of human life and the right of college students to carry guns?