Of course you must remember this old Abbot and Costello routine: Who’s on first. That’s the man’s name. That’s who’s name? Yes….etc. etc.
So here’s a 21st century crazy liberal version: We have a weapons policy on campus. I know. But you’re wearing a holster. Yes, but it’s empty. So where’s your weapon? At home. And on it went.
Courtesy of Campus Reform, two University of South Alabama students were confronted by campus police (last week), and one student was cited for “causing alarm” by wearing an empty holster.
This exchange ensued:
“Is this just because I have a holster on me?” Student D.J. Parten asks the officer after turning over his identification.
“Yeah, it is, because somebody called it in,” the officer replies matter-of-factly. “You know there’s a no-weapons policy out here, but still you want to push it.”
“Uh … this is a protest,” Parten submits after a short pause, evidently caught off-guard by the notion that an empty holster might violate the policy.
“Did you get permission to wear it?” the officer queries him.
“I don’t need permission to wear it,” Parten replies confidently.
“You need permission from the university.”
“To wear a holster?” he asks with undisguised incredulity.
Standing his rhetorical ground, the officer simply shrugs off the challenge and says, “There’s a no-weapons policy here.”
“It’s not a weapon.”
“I understand that,” the officer concedes. “Take it up with Dean of Students, then, because y’all are gonna be written up for disciplinary [sic], and I will put in there your attitude, you understand?”
Assuming a more confrontational demeanor, the officer then turns to Parten and states, “So I’m gonna ask you one more time: where’s the weapon?”
“I don’t have it,” Parten tells him. “It’s at home.”
The school’s website states that “all weapons are prohibited in University housing buildings, parking lots, and on University property” adding that “this includes, but is not limited to, bullets, ball bearing bullets, bullet balls, pellets, firearms, guns, knives, paintball guns, air guns, hunting bows, archery bows, swords, martial arts weapons, and replicas of such weapons. Toy and water guns are prohibited.”
Parten protested that nothing in the policy even implies that he is not allowed to wear the empty holster, particularly since he was doing it as a way of drawing attention to the school’s no-gun policy, but made no headway with the intractable officer, who insisted that the empty holster represented a potential safety hazard because it implied the existence of a firearm whose whereabouts he could not ascertain.
Ah-HA! Because it implies there MIGHT be a firearm, it causes “distress.” At this rate, pretty soon I’m going to be pulled over just for wearing my NRA hat.
But this story has a “happy ending.” Al.com says School officials say the police officer who cited Parten, Officer David Turppa, has been suspended for five days without pay after the incident.
“Officer Turppa and Officer Steve Gordon both apologized to the students involved,” University Director of Communications and Media Relations Bob Lowry says.
University Police determined, after an investigation, that the citation should not have been issued. The citation, which ordered Parten to meet with the Dean of Students has since been rescinded.
Whew. I can get out my hat and holster now.
[Note: This article was written while wearing a holster by Michele Hickford]