In terms of political issues, I probably disagree with the right-wing student group Young Americans for Freedom on most things. In terms of the ongoing national debate over gun rights, I definitely disagree with them –– I support assault weapons bans, background checks and waiting periods for gun license applicants, and the whole range of commie pinko liberal positions on gun control. But I don’t blame Young Americans for being pissed that TCU administrators nixed a promotional flier (pictured at left) for last night’s speech by former U.S. Treasurer and conservative activist Bay Buchanan. The offending part of the flier was the antique shotgun on the center of the page and the phrase “Fully Loaded.” Also axed was YAF’s proposal to give away raffle prizes of handgun training classes and skeet shooting trips.
TCU, of course, has the right to set its own parameters on the speech content that the campus will and won’t support. (They gave a hearty thumbs up to the anti-gay messages of Chik-fil-A, didn’t they?) And given the rash of public shootings in recent years –– especially gun massacres at institutions of learning –– I can understand why campus security officials everywhere are extra-vigilant and paranoid about potential provocations/inspirations to violence. But really, YAF’s poster for the Bay Buchanan talk is about as innocuous as a flier for a gun rights speech can get. The rifle depicted recalls a cheesy John Wayne film far more than it does, say, the Virginia Tech killings. And the phrase “Fully Loaded” has dissolved from a specific threat about ammo to a generically macho catchphrase a la “Just Do It” or “Built Tough.” TCU probably isn’t the bastion of p.c. intolerance that YAF claims –– again, remember Chik-fil-A? –– but after denying the Bay Buchanan poster, officials made themselves fair subjects of criticism.