By Aaron Epple
I’ve long suspected that Fox News hired Bob Beckel as a panelist solely to make liberals look bad. Imagine if MSNBC hired the Westboro Baptist Church to be the token “representatives” of conservatism.
In his 18 months since joining “The Five,” Beckel has indeed filled the time colorfully, from dropping F-bombs to making crude sexual and racial jokes. Tuesday, Beckel made another great leap in confirming conservative suspicion that liberals were no more evolved than Todd Akin.
In discussing whether college women should be allowed CCW (carrying a concealed weapon) permits to protect themselves from sexual assault on campus, Beckel asked, “When was the last time you heard about a rape on a college campus?”
Beckel has since acknowledged the utter stupidity of his statement, giving the standard-issue “rape is rape” mea culpa. There’s only one problem. The issue wasn’t Beckel’s sensitivity to the definition of rape. It was his galling ignorance regarding the occurrence of rape on college campuses, to wit, his incredulity that it happens at all, let alone that it happens quite frequently. It would be like if someone entered into a conversation about Afghanistan and stated at some point, “We have troops there?”
Whether you chalk it up to typical Beckel fecklessness, or that a half century stands between now and the last time Beckel stepped onto a college campus as a student, the sad thing is that his loopy gaffe obscured what was actually an interesting discussion: Would CCW reduce the rate of sexual assault on campus?
This is where all the hypothetical, what-if variables come into play — coupled with contradictory empirical studies and anecdotal evidence — which has bogged pro-gun and anti-gun factions down into what looks like an eternal stalemate. Producing a gun can stop an assault before it starts. Yet in a physical struggle, especially if the element of surprise is involved, the victim is just as likely to get shot. If both are armed, the attacker could end up murdering his victim when he originally intended to leave her alive. In the case of a date rape, the most common type of sexual assault, if an amorous encounter goes bad or if the man decides the relationship is no longer Platonic, what does she do if he’s between her and the gun?
These questions matter because, although to their credit conservative commentators Eric Bolling and Dana Perino weren’t advocating that every student should be armed (unlike Wayne LaPierre), nobody mentions the broader difficulties of guns on campus, such as where they would be kept in times of peace. Is there a secure place for a gun to be stored in a dorm room? If so, how secure would it be? Is there a vault somewhere in the lobby? If so, what good would that do a woman who is assaulted in her bed at 3 a.m.?
In the meantime, people party in dorm rooms just as heavily and randomly as they do in bars. It’s not too hard to imagine some guy, fueled by a Busch Light beer bong or two, stumbling across the gun and thinking it would be a good idea to re-enact the Die Hard sequel he saw the previous night.
In private gun-owning households, the household occupants are more likely to end up getting shot, via accident or suicide, than an actual home invader. One has to wonder why the same wouldn’t apply to college “homes,” whether they be dorm rooms, Greek houses, or off-campus rentals, especially when they boast much higher quantities of intoxicated strangers.