Dear Michael,

At the risk of boring the reader, I quote your April 9 blog, entitled “Sexual Assault Awareness Month,” verbatim:

“April on campus is typically a time of intense work for faculty and students (exams, theses) and liberating play (Foss Hill in the sunshine, drumming in the CFA). April is also ‘sexual assault awareness month.’ Sexual assault remains one of the greatest threats to freedom and well-being around the world, and college campuses are not immune. Our campus is not immune, as we were made so painfully aware last weekend when one of our students was attacked. Sexual assault is an act of violence. It terrorizes groups, most often women, in ways that can destroy individual lives and distort society. Awareness matters because sexual assault is often so hidden away. Survivors of assault must be supported in every way possible, and all of us must find ways to change the elements of our culture that fuel this violence.

“College campuses are the front lines in the battle against sexual assault, places where we can raise awareness and generate a real community response to eliminate this form of terrorism. Here at Wesleyan we have been making strong efforts in these regards, from the ongoing work of Alysha Warren, our sexual assault resource coordinator in CAPS, and that of our SART team to the work of student groups such as Students for Consent and Communication and the Peer Health Advocates. Such efforts, however, do not make the event of last weekend any less painful. I’ve tried to make sure we were doing everything possible to support the survivor of the attack and to assist in apprehending the perpetrator.

“Now we must do what we can to raise campus awareness, to ask ourselves what else we can do to eliminate sexual assault from our campus, to commit to working with and supporting those on campus already doing this critical work. We aspire to be a community of compassionate solidarity in which people can learn with inquiry and openness. Sexual assault is one of the greatest threats to our educational mission. We must work together to stamp it out.”

Michael, what IS that verbal sprawl? Is it your Vapid Response Team’s VistaVisioned “POST-ASSAULT COUNSELING: THE PANACEA”? (If you haven’t cornered the market on Post-Assault Counseling, Inc., I’d like to get in on that burgeoning industry.) Or, for the student fain to defend herself BEFORE the invasion of her privacy, are your above-quoted verbal simples her form-fitting hardened silo of boilerplate cunningly hammered out in the tongs of your wordy smithy? As safeguards go, what underbellied spearhead would not be blunted by THAT? So perish the very mention of your “supercool” student body’s packing heat (Diversity U’s Admissions Statement: “No Annie Oakleys need apply!”), guns being the problem, as everyone knows.

Everyone, minus a renegade tribe of (mostly) native Americans camped in the Wild Western frontier of the state. Not buying your “Farewell to Arms” after more than a score of children and teachers were “gunned down” (the clipped, un-tonic shot from the lip of Barry the Kid), from every trading post within range of Newtown-Sandy Hook they emptied the gun racks and made off with every fire stick in stock. Call out the cavalry, Michael: a horde of heretofore herded Crazy Horses is off the reservation. The ignorant savages simply had reasoned that, had just one of the teachers been armed, the loco local’s fire would have been met with fire and snuffed out pronto; the shooter would not have scored a score.

And had just one of the crewmen or passengers on each of the ill-fated 9/11 flights been armed, there would have been no 9/11. (Of course, to hear you tell it, there never was a 9/11; it’s hidden among your unmentionables.) El Al’s armed personnel have held the number of hijacked flights to zero, and Israeli schoolteachers, male and female, also are armed and dangerous. I daresay there won’t be a Newtown-Sandy Hook on THEIR watch.

The Fort Hood and Washington Naval Base personnel were each and all as return-fire-powered as fish in a barrel. There were fewer firearms in their hands than in ours back in the Old Wes fifties. (Shooting rats in the city dump was one of decaying Middletown’s rare attractions.)

Chancellor Adolf Hitler’s very first dictate called for the confiscation of firearms held in the hands of the people. “Power comes out of the barrel of a gun,” as every dictator aimed at taking power FROM the people, were he as candid as Mao, would declaim. (Alas, Michael, a matter as personal, say, as the choosing of one’s bedfellows leaves me no choice but to let you choose yours.)

Meanwhile, Switzerland, armed to the teeth (you take your life in your hands in that European Sudan) REQUIRES that every adult male citizen Freischutz own a rifle (and ammo) and practice, aiming for “Power TO the people.”

And, lest we forget: one of Wesleyan’s own, the lass “gunned down” in Broad Street Books, a gun-free zone. Your solution: more gun free-zones.

Michael, it’s gratifying to find that you hadn’t returned from your trek through the wilds of trigger-happy, shoot-’em-up Texas with nothing to show for it: you’re talking through your ten-gallon hat.

Benjamin is a member of the class of 1957.


  • was that english?

    this was the most incoherent assemblage of words and “phrasing” I have ever had the displeasure of trying to read

  • DavidL

    I stopped with “At the risk of boring the reader . . . ”

    I’m risk adverse.

  • Gender-Neutral Frat Tunnel

    I used to look forward to a new Martin Benjamin piece. Unfortunately the balance in his writing between reactionary politics and senility has tipped toward the latter.

  • This is garbage

    Can this person stop posting?