Those of us who spend our time defending gun rights are used to dealing with the emotionally charged and twisted logic of those on the other side of the issue. But every once in a while, someone takes a position so ridiculous, so asinine, that they deserve special attention.
Such a person is Professor Jerry Peterson of the University of Colorado. Professor Peterson, who is a scholar of some renown in nuclear physics circles, was elevated to the exalted position of Anti-Gun Wacko of The Week because of his reaction to the University of Colorado’s announcement that permit holders cannot be barred from bringing their firearms onto campus.
The University’s announcement is part of their larger response to the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling in Regents of the University of Colorado v. Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. And while the University has acted fairly silly itself by presenting plans to require permit holders to live in segregated housing, Professor Peterson easily maintained his lead in the Wacko of The Week category by publicly declaring that if any student dares to exercise their rights in his classroom, he will stop the class.
“My own personal policy in my classes is if I am aware that there is a firearm in the class — registered or unregistered, concealed or unconcealed — the class session is immediately canceled.”
If I thought it would do any good, I would remind Professor Peterson that Colorado, like almost all other states, does not have registration. But alas, I fear it would be for naught. But I am still disappointed in the good professor. By making such a statement, he demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of gun laws that I find shocking in a scholar of his stature.
As for why he would short-change the education of his students, he stated that “I want my students to feel unconstrained in their discussions.”
Wait … what? This is a professor of ‘physics’ we are talking about, right? Perhaps he teaches physics in a much more confrontational way than I remember from my undergrad years. I can only imagine what a day in his class might be like.
Student 1: “I think the Hamilton-Jacobi Equation clearly demonstrates that all particles behave fundamentally as wave form projections.”
Student 2: “Listen you bastard … We can ascertain electron positions with unlimited precision which would not be possible if you accept a complete wave form hypothesis.”
Student 1: “That’s it. I demand satisfaction. Slap leather!”
And while this imaginary exchange gets funnier and funnier in my head every time I think about it, in reality the University needs to remind the good professor that he is there to serve the educational needs of the students, not to rule his own little fiefdom.
UPDATE: It appears that the University has done just that.
University of Colorado Chancellor Phil DiStefano is reported to have told faculty that:
“I have the utmost respect for Professor Peterson, who is an old friend and valued colleague, but I want to make clear that if the student carrying the weapon has a concealed-carry permit, the position implied by Professor Peterson’s comments directly violates Colorado law and the operating principles of the campus”
He went on to add that “any faculty members who do so will be in violation of their contracts and face disciplinary action.”
Extreme case of wanting total control of not only himself, but also of all within his small little world. That is what this is about – control – and the professor has lost it.
There may be some transference here too. Perhaps the former master of his domain doesn’t trust himself to responsibly exercise the rights afforded others.
It seems a shame to risk sacrificing his career on the alter of false principles – failure to abide by university rules. Not exactly a good way to achieve martyrdom in the 21st century.
The truly sad thing is that I suspect he really cares about his students. But he cannot get past his idealogical hangups about lawfully armed citizens. 🙁
Ha Ha Your writings sir, as far as im concerned are, always correct and funnier than crap to boot! Slapping leather over nuetron positions! Love it!!
Thank you very much. :p I had a lot of fun with this particular article.
I can only imagine the student evaluations this guy will get. Sometimes tenure is a very bad thing.
I very nearly attended CU-Boulder, but ultimately found myself at CSU in Fort Collins, instead. I’m frequently reminded to be thankful for this.
Not that CSU is without noisy anti-gun professors, such as Richard Eyekholt, a former chair of Faculty Council and, coincidentally, also a physics professor like Dr. Peterson. To the credit of Dr. Eyekholt, despite publicly opposing firearms, he has not to my knowledge gone nearly as far as this Boulder professor.
You mentioned CU’s segregated housing – you might be interested to note that CSU’s housing is still officially no-guns-period, despite the CO Supreme Court ruling and despite letters to the department (Housing and Dining Services) and to the university’s Office of General Counsel.
That sounds like CSU needs to have some media / legal attention brought to bear on them. 🙂
I find it ironic how it was the philosophers and academics that helped to free us from tyranny by changing the peoples acceptance of the idea of hereditary monarchy based on a supposed command from G-d; to only have these same people try to lead us back into tyranny in trying to make us accept the idea that secular Government should have a monopoly of force.
Ultimately it’s all about control and the the power to control others peoples lives, “for thier own good” of course; and “power does come from the barrel of a gun”; before it was the state church in thier support of divine right of rule; now it’s the new church of humanism, with god as the state, most academics and philosophers are the new priests trying to convince us to bow down and accept our new god and master with them as it’s voice.
A professor of physics should be teaching the physics of ballistics, bodies in motion, etc. Now that would make for lively discussion!
> shocking in a scholar of his stature
I find university professors to be some of the most dogmatic unintelligent people I come across. Makes me think twice about being in school.
I think those who are dogmatic are in the minority. I have been privileged to know some amazing professors in my time and even those who disagreed with me were always willing to engage in an honest debate.
To quote my grandfather: Son, some folks are educated far beyond their intellegence.
How many John, of the professors that you know, support the right to keep and bear arms? not just in public, but on campus as well?
I would say it is a small percentage. But the relevant question is whether they would refuse to honor the law as Professor Peterson tried to do.
All of the professors I have known would respect the law and, if they disagreed, work to change it. I can respect that.
I am one. I make it a point to offer my students CCW information.
Phil DiStefano WIN!
Wonder if it’s the name– can’t help but notice the striking resemblance to Sandusky