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We shouldn't begrudge "Harry Potter" film star Emma Watson attending her graduation ceremony at Brown University accompanied by an armed bodyguard. While Mail Online pointedly asks why she needs one, that's not their call to make, although having explored how UK journalists epitomize a snotty attitude toward guns, such a judgmental and presumptuous question from them is hardly unexpected.
Watson has good reason to fear for her safety from personal experience with stalkers, including one who managed to trick his way past studio security and make it onto a set she was working on. Mail Online knows this, or should, because they reported on that incident last March, when we learned Ms. Watson pays a female former NYPD officer £90,000 a year out of her own pocket.
If she can afford that, again, who but the envious or those bent on control über alles would begrudge another human being security measures they can afford?
Well, Brown University, for one.
"Possession, use or distribution of firearms or knives will result in more severe sanctions from the University, separation being the standard," they announce in their Code of Student Conduct, relegating a student of lesser means, one who cannot afford an authorized armed bodyguard, to defenselessness.
It's not like administrators at Brown are unaware of the stalking risk other coeds face. They even provide special detailed guidance to help students identify what it is, what do stalkers do, who perpetrators and victims are, what victims should do, and what campus resources are available to deal with it. Everything except what a woman can do if someone with twice her upper body strength and a determination to do her harm should manage to corner her alone somewhere...
It's not like other Ivy League schools with similar policies haven't been through that learning curve. And while "gun-free-zone" Brown has so-far been spared a homicide problem, the exclusive school nonetheless recorded 16 on-campus "forcible sex offenses" in 2012. But it's the surrounding city of Providence that people conditioned against self-defense should be most concerned about.
Rated "8" on its Crime Index by Neighborhood Scout, with "100" being safest, Providence's murder, rape and robbery rates are approximately twice the national average. That's quite a gauntlet the unarmed, who can't afford sanctioned armed bodyguards, must run to ensure they arrive on campus in compliance with the rules.
It's curious that for an institution that relies so heavily in guns, for their commercial value when used as entertainment props and thematic elements, to making sure their own privileged carcasses are protected, Hollywood as a whole is so overwhelmingly anti-gun, from Harvey Weinstein threatening a Meryl Streep project to go after NRA, to Philip Seymour Hoffman stumping for the government to put more controls on freedom right before terminally demonstrating his utter inability to control himself, to... the examples are too numerous to mention, and would require a book (say... now there's an idea). The point is made.
Except let's look at just one more example. It seems Brad Pitt, a guy who's not against personally having guns, in spite of a weird affinity for supporting a guy NRA calls "the most anti-gun president ever to occupy the Oval Office," was just rushed and touched by a loon who jumped the barrier at the El Capitan theater's red carpet premier for his wife's new Disney movie (and don't get me started on those guys), "Maleficent."
Fortunately, heavy security that wasn't able to prevent the incident was at least able to cuff the perp and haul him away. However, adoring fans that had to navigate their way to and from the event through less guarded and more crime-prone Hollywood streets were on their own, especially since, in LA, unless one is connected, getting a concealed carry permit is simply not an option.
Fortunately, with the fantasy and special effects spectacular tracking to open with a $60 million launch, the loss of a ticket-buyer or two won't even register on the bottom line.
David Codrea is a field editor at GUNS Magazine, penning their monthly "Rights Watch" column. He provides regular reporting and commentary at Gun Rights Examiner and blogs at The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance.