November 8, 2007

BSU: Where Anti-Gun PC Nonsense Trumps Honoring Veterans

Posted by Adam Graham in : Idaho Conservative, The

From today’s Statesman, a reminder that Boise State is a still liberal school, just one with a great football team:

R.K. Williams, a Vietnam War veteran and longtime Boise State employee who runs the campus veterans services office, said he asked university officials for permission to hold the salute at noon, but they turned him down — twice. The salute would consist of seven shooters firing blanks in three volleys as part of a flag ceremony in the Quad at the center of campus.

Six students and alumni of Boise State have died in the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the university’s communications office.

But “having a 21-gun salute in today’s environment in the middle of classes didn’t seem to be an appropriate way to celebrate” Veterans Day, BSU spokesman Frank Zang said. He cited a student shooting rampage at Virginia Tech University last April that killed 33, including the gunman, and said students and staff might not realize gunshots are part of a ceremony and are safe.

Of course some people with a modicum of common sense point out the absurdity of this:

Williams’ office helps veterans figure out how to use their benefits to pay for college. He decided to use this year’s holiday to replace a missing MIA/POW flag and thought it would be a perfect time for the salute. Boise State has students, faculty and staff who are veterans of conflicts in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, he said.

He disagrees with the reasoning behind the university’s decision.

“It’ll be over so fast. By the time the third volley goes off, you will go, ‘It was over there, and I’m over here,’ ” he said.

“And I can’t even begin to tell you how many are coming back injured,” Williams said. “It was just a way to show some respect, some love … to honor them for serving their country.

“You go fight, and you come back. They care about you for a little while, and then you’re just like set aside until something else happens,” he said.

A 21-gun salute was part of the funeral for Alan B. Rowe, a Boise State graduate who was killed in Iraq in 2004, said his widow, Dawn Rowe.

“For me personally, it’s a time of reflection and, I suppose, solace,” Rowe said.

She said she would support a salute at Boise State.

“It sounds like a very honorable way to pay tribute to those students,” she said. “I just think that’s a sad statement to make on behalf of Boise State that they can’t have a traditional ceremonial event that honors veterans and students. I don’t think our society should be ruled by fear.”

Soldier Doug Price, a student at Boise State who plans to go into nursing, said bystanders wouldn’t be alarmed.

“That makes no sense, because an event like this is very widely advertised and promoted way before it happens,” said Price, who has completed two tours in Iraq and hopes to go back again. Other schools, including Utah State University, plan 21-gun salutes for their Veterans Day observations. Boise State has never had one, administrators said.

Indeed, it would seem a very simple matter to send out an e-mail to students, “Hey, there’s going to be this 21-gun salute at noon on Monday. It’ll last about a minute. Don’t be alarmed.” It’s even simpler to send a special e-mail to professors to advise them to remind their students during the classes that go through 12 o’clock to remind their students before class, so no one’s alarmed.

It seems BSU has got their priorities totally out of whack, and that our society has gone insane. Instead of worrying about some student being alarmed by the use of firearms on campus despite easily available warning systems, BSU would do well to remember  how truly frightening the beaches of Normandy, the jungles of Vietnam, and the Streets of Fallujah were to those who served there. Honor veterans as they request to be honored and stop this inanity.

Updated:

Also blogging on this: Bubblehead and Free in Idaho.

UPDATE II:

Oh what a difference a little publicity makes. The Statesman ran this update:

Boise State spokesman Frank Zang said today that a 21-gun salute will occur at Bronco Stadium during Veterans Day activities that begin at 12:30 p.m. Monday.

Boise State officials had told campus veterans they couldn’t include the salute in their activities Monday because it might alarm students or staff who didn’t know the shooting was part of a ceremony. The veterans had hoped to have the salute on the campus Quad.

But many community members complained after reading about the 21-gun salute discussion in the Idaho Statesman Thursday. Zang said about two dozen people called or e-mailed him, and others sent their messages to university President Bob Kustra.

Dear readers, please note how few calls and e-mails it took to make the move. Maybe if a few more of us get involved in things like this, we can make a real difference.

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