May 13, 2007

Troy Scheffler And Hamline University

Mitch Berg and I had the opportunity to invite Troy Scheffler to our studio yesterday to talk about his suspension from Hamline University for his protest against the gun-free zone policy of the school. After the Virginia Tech massacre, Hamline had sent out an e-mail to its students offering trauma counseling. Scheffler responded in an e-mail that asked the school to reconsider its position on making the campaus a "gun-free zone" -- and Hamline responded by suspending him and requiring a psychiatric evaluation before he could return.

I was curious about what kind of person Troy was, and so I looked forward to meeting with him yesterday after our intrepid producer Matt Reynolds made the arrangements. I didn't think he'd be a Seung-hui Cho type at all, but I was very much surprised when Troy turned out to be as mild-mannered as anyone I had ever met. He didn't harbor any bitterness nor even anger over his situation, only a resigned bemusement. He, in fact, is a very nice guy caught up in the academic manifestations of political correctness.

Mitch and I asked him about what happened in the two e-mails he sent to Janet Hanson and David Stern (who declined to appear on our program). Troy told us that he sent the e-mail to President Hanson first as a reply to the counseling offer, but that he never used any kind of threatening language at all. In fact, he stressed that he believed in dialogue to resolve disputes. He referenced a recent incident where a female student had sprayed a swastika in a bathroom and said how "idiotic" that kind of activism was.

And, at least at first, Hanson appeared to agree. Troy says that she responded by offering to meet him the following Monday in her office to discuss his concerns. However, that morning, he received a letter by courier from Stern informing Troy of his suspension and the rather Staliniesque terms of potential reinstatement. At that point, Troy sent the second e-mail complaining about his treatment and pointing out the hypocrisy inherent in Hamline's so-called diversity efforts.

As it turns out, Troy wasn't even referring to the main campus when he complained about the gun-free zone. He told us that security actually does a good job protecting the main campus, but he attended classes in the school's downtown Minneapolis facilities at night -- which is not a safe place to be, and where Hamline provides no security. Since Troy has a state license to carry a concealed weapon -- which means he's passed the background checks and training requirements -- all he wanted to do was to get their permission to have the opportunity to defend himself in case he got attacked.

So far, the school hasn't budged. Troy doesn't really want to return there anyway under the circumstances, but he worries that the incompletes he had to take and the record of the suspension will damage his chances to get into law school. In fact, he has just about despaired of that career at this point, and isn't sure what he will do now.

What is certain is that Hamline should be embarrassed to have treated Troy in this manner. Had Hanson actually met Troy, she would have seen that she had nothing to fear from him. He would have shown her that people who get concealed-carry licenses don't have a psychosis or some kind of aggression against humanity; they just want to have the option to defend themselves effectively when placed in dangerous situations. And it's Hamline that put him and its other students in those situations in the first place.

Shame on Hanson, Stern, and Hamline for their prejudice and their mistreatment of a fine, upstanding, and unassuming young man.

NOTE: Troy could use a good Second Amendment lawyer. Let me know if anyone wants to give Troy an assist in that manner. Also, I would have podcasted the interview, but the station didn't have its recording system running yesterday.

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