Face mask on, backpack strapped tight, clothes midnight black. As I sat inside the Prospector office working on my story for the day, I noticed a man frantically pacing up and down the first floor of the Union Building.
As I looked at the man outside of the door, my heart dropped, I gasped and told our advisor about what I had just seen.
Concerned she got up locked the office door and the UTEP Police were called.
Just by observing the man’s clothing, I freaked out, assumed he had a gun and was going to hurt anyone in his path.
Needless to say, nothing ended up happening that day, but the fear that I felt at that very moment made me shiver.
On May 31, when Senate Bill 11 was approved, a million different thoughts began running through my head.
First off, why do I live in a state that would allow students to carry guns on a university campus?
As a student myself, I can personally say that this is a disaster and will turn institutions of higher education into institutions of higher vigilance.
Although the bill has been amended, which now allows universities and colleges to set their own rules on where handguns will be allowed, this still has me on edge.
In a place where you have young adults beginning to find themselves, deal with high stress levels, party all week and vary in personalities, guns just don’t make sense.
Depression and anxiety are two everyday issues that college students have to cope with.
In recent years, the number of Americans diagnosed with chronic depression has doubled.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 16,000,000 U.S. adults have had at least one major depressive episode.
Now, I’m not saying that everyone who is depressed would harm anyone. I am just saying that carrying a gun onto campus and having an episode may lead to an unfortunate circumstance.
A study conducted in 2012 titled College Students Speak: Survey Report on Mental Health by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), found that almost 73 percent of students living with a mental health condition experienced a mental health crisis on campus.
An alarming 34.2 percent reported that their colleges did not know about their crisis.
In addition to mental health, college students also deal with drugs and alcohol being present at college campuses throughout Texas.
About 45 percent of college students binge drink and nearly 21 percent of students abuse prescription or illegal drugs, this is based on a report conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA).
Fights, verbal arguments and disagreements are part of everyday existence. If you mix that with drugs, alcohol and a handgun, things can get violent pretty quickly.
With these alarming statistics and reports supporting what many people fear, it is surprising that Governor Abbott and the other supporters of this bill still see the need to sign it into law.
There is more to this issue than just the opportunity to “expand Second Amendment rights in Texas,” there is the right of the students to pursue an education without fear.
Governor Abbott instead of looking for ways to please the red majority, try looking out for the future of your state.
Amanda Guillen may be reached at [email protected]