By: STEPHEN M. SALISBURY
Well, my friends, the time has come to say good bye. This will be my last column. As I shared last time, I’ve begun a new job here on campus as part of the leadership team in the Dwyer College of Health Sciences and for the first time in six years, I will not be a student next semester.
I started writing this column two and a half years ago as I began my year-long term as President of the Student Body. The editors and I felt that providing an outlet for the voice of the executive student-leader on campus would be a good use of space in the paper. After my term was over, I asked if I could continue writing and the editors graciously allowed it.
My goal for this weekly segment of the paper was to simply provide the perspective of one who shares in many of the struggles that our students undertake while pursuing their education. I hope that you have found my prose entertaining, informative, and possibly encouraging and maybe insightful.
As I look back on my tenure here, I have to admit that I am probably the least sentimental person you will ever meet. I’m not sad to be ending this part of my journey, but excited to embark on new adventures. I hope that you choose the same perspective as you move through your academic journey.
When I thought about what topic I would choose for my last diatribe, I thought about the one issue I have painstakingly avoided the most in my writings and that is the issue of gun control. I felt tremendously guilty not speaking out enough after the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland and recently after the rampage in Pittsburgh and Thousand Oaks, California. The reason I chose to stay out of the fray when these incidents happened was because I really just didn’t want to contribute to the noise from both sides. I also felt like I didn’t have anything new to say about the issue that wasn’t already being said.
Well, now that I’m leaving, and now that it seems that mass shootings are a part of our daily experience in this country, let me see if I can’t offer an original perspective from the most unlikely of disciplines, my current field of study: Applied Mathematics!
In Algebra, we are all familiar with the concept of variables. We are often faced with a very simple equation in which A + B = C. When it comes to the issue of gun control, A = People, B = Guns, and C = Death. So, when you add People with Guns, you get Death. The irony here is that we are not really dealing with three variables in this equation. The types of people who use the guns to kill people and the victims of those gun-users vary in many different ways. So, A and C are the only real variables in this equation.
It is true that no matter what you do, people will always find a way to cause death and destruction, so you could say A = C, however, by removing B or lessening its magnitude, you might actually create a situation in which C is reduced and A is increased. B seems to be the one constant in all of these situations.
I have stated emphatically in past columns that I hate guns. I understand that the Second Amendment allows for us as citizens to keep and bear arms in the name of having a “well-regulated” militia. I know how complicated this issue is for those who wish to interpret it in any myriad of ways. All I’m saying is that it seems to me that, based on my simple equation above, the fewer guns we have and the harder we make it to acquire them, the less likely it is that so many people will be killed in our country by them. These are just my current thoughts on this topic.
In parting, I want to simply say, “Thank you for reading my work.” I’ve learned a lot by doing this and my number one goal has always been simply to make us think. If I have succeeded in that for you, I’m glad to sign off with, “Mission Accomplished!”
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