Students at the University of Texas at Austin will protest a new law that will allow more guns on campus.
Instead of signs, the students are protesting by "strapping gigantic swinging dildos to our backpacks," which is in violation of the campus' obscenity policy.
Jessica Jin, who set up the Campus (DILDO) Carry event on Facebook, invokes the argument that allowing more guns on campus will make students safe is a fallacy. She's urging students to send campus leaders that message by strapping on the plastic phalluses.
"You're carrying a gun to class? Yeah well I'm carrying a HUGE DILDO," Jin says in the group's description. "Just about as effective at protecting us from sociopathic shooters, but much safer for recreational play."
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Does gun control mean fewer guns on the street and less violence? Does encouraging gun ownership mean better protected people and less violence?
I don't think it's too early to be asking questions like this. When you're faced with a tragedy like what happened today at Sandy Hook Elementary School, it's reasonable to start asking questions about violence prevention. It's part of the bargaining stage of grief — wondering if there's something we could have done that would have prevented all those needless deaths. And let's get one thing straight: Everybody wants to prevent what happened today.
So what can be done about it? And what does the science say?
I've been trying to get a handle on that for the last hour or so and here are three things it seems we can definitively say:
• It would be completely accurate for someone to tell you that studies in places like Australia and Austria found that implementing more stringent gun control laws reduced deaths from gun-related suicides and violent crime.
• It would also be accurate to say that a study of the effects of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act in the United States showed no big reductions in gun-related deaths, except for suicides among people older than 55.
• And it's also true that a 2003 study of conceal-carry laws in Florida found that they seemed to make no difference one way or the other — neither increasing nor reducing rates of violent crime. Read the rest