On Thursday, November 17, 2016, the Clemson University Young Americans for Liberty set out to test the waters on their campus. Do Clemson Students believe that there is a right to self defense? If so what does that look like? Given the timing of such an event with its proximity to a very surprising election, this topic was instantly given connotation specific to each individual that happened up on the YAL table.
Clemson YAL set up a table and placed the chart with some depictions of weapons as well as the petition for students to sign in support of their right to self defense. As previously mentioned, the subject of self defense renders a pre-disposed opinion to most. The Clemson YAL members approached their peers asking, “Do you support your right to self-defense?” or “Do you believe students have a right to self-defense?” Much to the surprise of the YAL members, many students simply replied no! Many still saying no after having appeared to give the question a brief moment of thought. The other interesting observation they made was how quick students jumped to campus concealed carry from the idea of self defense. Interestingly all the students that were asked about their right to self-defense on their campus, became either concerned or amused to learn that almost no form of defense was allowed save that or your own physical prowess. Once most students realized that it was less about guns and more about whether or not a person has the innate right to protect their life, It became harder for them to argue against campus carry, or any form of weapon. Many who were opposed to guns or even any form of self-defense weapon even admitted that it takes a “good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy.” However, despite their own realization, they rationalized their stance on guns as college students are too “stupid and immature” to be allowed to own a gun. In addition the other argument commonly given was that if campus carry were allowed, guns would litter the streets for anyone to grab. Of course many reading this will understand differently, and the facts also don't necessarily support such claims. Additionally, many made the argument that, talking about self-defense was not needed unless one could point to a present and existing threat. In essence, you can't claim a right unless it is taken and then becomes necessary.
As became apparent to the members of the Clemson Young Americans for Liberty, there is much work to be done in terms of spreading the ideas of Liberty. Most students couldn't even conceive doing something unless it was government sanctioned, failing to understand the true nature of what rights are. Clemson YAL will again organize an event next semester to educate peers on rights and ones right to self-defense.