Gonzaga U punishes the victims

Even as I write, my chamber is still perfumed with Hoppes Bore Cleaning Solvent: I cleaned my non-liturgical Beretta (9mm PX4 Storm) and my Springfield XD-S (.45 ACP – just back from its factory recall) after sending a couple hundred rounds down range at some dangerous and nefarious paper that needed to be stopped.

I have been following for some days now the bizzaro-world situation of two students at Jesuit-run Gonzaga University in Spokane.

A homeless man shows up at the door of the campus-housing residence of two Gonzaga students.  They offer him a blanket and food. He demands money, displays his ankle tracker bracelet, and tries to force the door.  One of the students, who has a concealed carry license, came to the aid of his roommate with his drawn Glock 10mm (I’ll bet a G20).  The aggressor promptly departed.

It turns out that the would-be-intruder is a six-time convicted felon. His crimes have included riot with a deadly weapon, possession of a controlled substance and unlawful imprisonment.  (Sounds like a “house-invader” to me.)

Anyway, the two students quite properly called the police.  The police said they did the right thing.  However, campus security shows up at 2 a.m, broke in, woke them, and (probably illegally) confiscated the handgun and a shotgun that was also in the residence.

What does Gonzaga U do then?

They throw a nutty and punish the students.

They have a hearing and find the students guilty of having weapons on school property.  The school leases the building the students live in.  They say the students put others in danger by their possession of weapons.  I don’t think they meant convicted felons trying to forcibly enter student’s dwellings.

An alert reader sent me a link to a piece posted on the online Gonzaga Bulletin.  It is written by Fr. Patrick Hartin, a professor at Gonzaga.

Here is the piece (edited):

After reading the Bulletin Friday morning, I’m convinced that I’m living in Alice’s Wonderland! Instead, it’s no “Wonderland” – more like Dante’s “Hell”!

Let me explain. The real world, Oct. 24, 2013, at 10:15 p.m.: Two students, Erik Fagan and Daniel McIntosh, are victims of an intruder trying to gain access to their apartment.

They acted, as would any true GU student; they acknowledged the intruder’s humanity by offering him a blanket and some food. That’s not what the intruder wanted. Instead, he intimidated them by revealing he had been in prison six times and showed them his ankle bracelet.  [Which itself is a kind of threat.]

To protect themselves and others in the neighborhood, the students defended themselves by pulling out a gun (one with a legal permit). Then the students called the police (as any law-abiding GU student would), informing them they had a legal gun with a permit. The police congratulated them on their whole mature behavior and response to this incident. There, the incident should have ended (if we were in the real world).

But, we enter GU’s “Wonderland” or Dante’s “Hell.” 2:00 a.m. next morning: GU’s campus security breaks into the students’ apartment and their bedrooms and seizes their weapons. (The campus security officers do not even know how to handle a gun – the two students’ lives are in danger again.) [LOL] The campus police report that students appeared to be drunk. Well, wake me up at 2:00 a.m. and see how I react! In the real world, we would celebrate that these students are safe and alive, that no one was killed and that no students were raped. [Not sure where the “rape” part comes in but, hey!  Who know what Washington state home-invading felons are into?]

Tragically, in GU’s “Wonderland,” these young gentlemen are turned from victims into criminals. Hauled before the university’s disciplinary committee, threatened with expulsion (because they had a gun to protect themselves), they are sentenced “to probation.” Instead of a medal (the real world), punishment is their reward (GU’s “Wonderland”). Curioser and Curioser (Alice in Wonderland, Ch. 2)!

There has not been any statement from the administration with a scintilla of concern or compassion extended to these remarkable students. The administration changed the subject of discussion: “Let’s re-examine GU’s policy on guns.”  [I say: Be more like Wyoming Catholic College!]

What about the cura personalis that is the bedrock of GU’s ethos?  We could have been mourning “Two funerals and a rape” this weekend. Instead, the heroes who avoided such a catastrophe are punished as villains. What a far cry from our Jesuit ethos!  [Luke 22:36!]

In the Catholic tradition, to which I ascribe, every person has a right to defend him or herself and to use appropriate means to save their lives. Apparently not here in GU’s “Wonderland.” As one of the students said afterward, “I would rather be expelled and still be alive, than dead.”


The students living in the Logan Neighborhood are living in one of the most dangerous areas in Spokane. Surely, more needs to be done to provide security for them; maybe then students may find that they do not need guns to protect themselves at night.

Finally, before any new gun policy is enacted, let me suggest that GU’s administrators move out of “Wonderland” and spend a week living in the Logan Neighborhood. Then, perhaps we could draw up a policy for the real world.

Fr. Z kudos to Fr. Hartin.

Gonzaga U’s reaction was complete B as in B, S as in S, of course.  This is the usual, liberal let’s blame the victims mentality.

In any event, I am glad the student with the Glock had his head screwed on in the right direction and that everyone is still on their feet.

If I ever get to Spokane, I’d like to buy Father, and those two students, a beer.

And for the readership, please donate to Fr. Z’s…


As a commentator reminds us, Gonzaga also didn’t want to allow students to form a Knights of Columbus Council! Remember that? HERE


I saw this and had to add it, for some levity.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in The Drill, Throwing a Nutty, You must be joking! and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. The Sicilian Woman says:

    Clarification: Conservatives are never victims. Only liberal women, homosexuals, and other assorted liberals/progressives/Dems are entitled to that classification and all requisite accommodations.

  2. acardnal says:

    Isn’t this the same Gonzaga that at one time banned the students from establishing a Knights of Columbus Council until public outcry forced them to change their policy? Sounds like the same stupid administrators are still running the asylum there.

    As for the students, they should invoke the state’s “castle law” in their defense – assuming Washington has one.

    Idiots abound.

  3. Dienekes says:

    Back in 1963-65 I attended MSU and lived in a student-owned “co-op” house. NO “adult” involvement or oversight–just a bunch of college students running their own lives, and doing it pretty well. I don’t remember any incidents of any kind, no liquor or drugs, no scantily clad coeds running through the place–all in all, pretty boring. Loved it.

    During all that time I always had one or more firearms in my room; a 1911, an M1 Garand, and so forth. Zero issues.

    These institutions are run by men (?) with hollow chests and hollow heads.

  4. Patrick-K says:

    “Not sure where the ‘rape’ part comes in but, hey! Who know what Washington state home-invading felons are into?”

    It’s a popular myth among liberal academics that college campuses have very high rates of rape: http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_1_campus_rape.html

    [I think ONE rape on a college campus is too many. No-gun campus policies favor rapists, who know that victims won’t have any equalizing defense. I say let women defend themselves and let every filthy rapist dog creep wonder if his target is packing…. and then go somewhere else.]

  5. Kathleen10 says:

    Fr. Patrick Harton….ahh….there’s a MAN. Having worked on a university campus, this was the kind of common sense talk one might hope for but never hear. His candor is amazing. College campuses and universities are actually pretty stifling places for freedom of thought and commentary. Unless it’s something towing the line along with everyone else. That’s always welcome. But defending gun ownership? (gasp) Guns on campus? (gasp) Self-defense as a concept? (gasp) That is just not done. We all know guns are bad. People who own guns are bad. People who defend themselves against an intruder are…well…okaayyy…but….must be punished for having the terrible guns on campus. In the silly world of academia, this makes sense.

    The “rapes” part probably comes into play because campuses are always trying to figure out why they suffer so many rapes when you mix a. post-adolescent hormonally charged males and females in an unsupervised place with b. alcohol and/or drugs and you get c. rapes and sexual assaults.
    It is a constant mystery to them why this continues to happen, so rape is always a big deal on campus. They sometimes put up lights on campus paths and call boxes. Somehow this doesn’t do much to prevent the rapes and sexual assaults that occur in a frat house or dorm room after a kegger.
    Kudos to the young men.

  6. persyn says:

    Fr. Hartin is a bright spot at my Alma Mater, and there aren’t many bright spots these days, I’m afraid. I shall email him and thank him for his courageous letter.

  7. disco says:

    Of course they had to be punished. An individual legally owning a gun led to the prevention of further violence! That would make the anti gun crusaders look bad. We can’t have that.

  8. Maltese says:

    XDS is a nice gun–planning on getting one myself. Only .45, that I know of, you can comfortably carry in a pocket holster! Too bad they are made in Croatia; I’m sure the XDS’ issues wouldn’t have arisen had they been made in the US. Just keep one in the chamber, Fr.! [I am hunting for a Glock 30S, yes S, not SF, in Gen 4 (which is even slimmer than Gen 3). .45 ACP 10+1. You read that right.]

  9. Joe in Canada says:

    I gather the University has a ban on firearms. Wouldn’t private-property rights be more important than the fact that one of the students had a valid permit for it? [It is hard to say. It seems that the residence was not on-campus. It is hard to know if such a ban was ever communicated by the school which does not own but merely sublets. It’s a bit vague.]

  10. Obumbrabit says:

    Gonzaga is my alma mater for better or worse and I took a couple religious studies classes with Fr. Hartin. He is a good professor and priest and is true to the faith. He is not a Jesuit, and he is originally from S. Africa. I am delighted to see him standing up for these students on this issue. Needless to say I haven’t been donating any money to GU recently–my wife and I donate to her alma mater, Thomas Aquinas College.

    Father’s use of the word “scintilla” made me smile because that is one of Fr. Spitzer’s trademark words.

    I did have a friend who lived on campus and kept a shotgun for going hunting but he got around the rules by keeping it behind the seat of his pickup truck.

  11. Glennonite says:

    Fr. Z:
    1stly, I call my PX4 Storm 9 my Very Favorite Gun; it’s sweet, ain’t it? [I like it. I think, however, that the Glock remains the best option for CCW: no fussy safety and it doesn’t have that overly large slide release that the Storm has. But I have to admit that I shoot the Storm with real accuracy, both right-handed and left.]

    2ndly, I’ve been following your blog daily for years; don’t stop! (Thanks for the wake-up calls re: TEOTWAWKI). [We shall see and you are welcome.]

    3rdly, I’m thinkin’ you (as am I) are a Jarhead…no? If so, Happy 238th; I owe you a shot! [I never had the honor, though my time spent with Marines has been amazing.]

    Finally, I (we) missed you last March on the Voris Retreat; Fr. Paul Nicholson did a great job and I am grateful to have made the retreat with him. However, I would still very much like to spend a week with your wisdom (especially on this year’s topic). Tell me you’re signed-up. [I cannot tell you that.]

    I remember you by name in my daily Rosaries. [THANKS!]


    Jack Meyer

  12. James Joseph says:

    2:00 AM is the time when female college students tend to be drunk enough… and that is when rape usually happens.

    Walk of shame in the morning; typically missing a shoe and a jacket.

  13. Maltese says:

    Father, I had a Glock 27 which I carried inside the pants in a Milt Sparks holster, or in an ankle holster. But the dang thing was so heavy it hurt my back (I’m a wuss, I guess)!

    The XDS really does seem like a great choice for everyday carry. I thought about a Ruger LCP; but nine mils don’t have enough penetration (yeah, I know, that’s an age-old debate!)–.45 hollow points are, just well, more manly! (And, should I add, more womanly, since some of the best shooters I’ve known have been women.)

    [Yes, women are often better shots than men. They are steadier. Maybe less ego involved? My mother was one of the scariest good shots ehvur. She was a career cop, too. That Glock 27 is the .40 subcompact, right? I would check out the XDS, though it is only 5+1 in .45. There is a 9mm version of the XDS, which could be lighter. I have been debating getting something in .40, however. It might be good to have multiple ammo options. I think I would go with the 23, which is pretty much the same as the 19.]

  14. jfk03 says:

    How bizarre! But I am not surprised. My son graduated from GU in 2009. He had a wonderful group of friends and an over-all good experience. But when my wife and I attended the commencement ceremony, we were struck by the failure of the priest who delivered the invocation to mention the name of Jesus. GU is Catholic in name only, although there are many good Catholic kids who go there. Not all practice their faith after they get out.

  15. Sword40 says:

    I have a son and a daughter-in-law that are grads of GU. Yep, both came out of the U bleeding liberals. I love them both but sometimes its too much to deal with and I blow!

    GU has gone to hell in a hand-basket.

  16. Maltese says:

    VERY cool that your mother was a cop! You can’t beat a Glock, but right now I’m looking for something I can slide into my pocket and mostly forget about it–hopefully not forgetting it! Found this holster:

    http://www.recluseholster.com/SPD/springfield-armory-xds-recluse-ts-solo-pocket-holster–800004B2-1349841735.jsp [Nice! I am partial to the Minotaur by Comp-tac for the 1.75 belt. HERE]

    Re TEOTWAWKI, I think every adult male should be REQUIRED to have a gun, as the do in Switzerland. They can amass an army in three hours, literally, by law! [I think it may have been Bill Bennett who said some years ago that it was irresponsible for anyone licensed to carry a firearm to leave home without it. I would like to quote him exactly, but I haven’t the energy to dig it up tonight.]

  17. John S. says:

    A young acquaintance of mine is a friend of the two young men in question. When the campus security officers broke into their bedrooms in the early morning hours – scaring them to half to death after their earlier experience, and placing everyone at extreme risk in the process – the student with the carry permit handed over his holstered, loaded handgun upon demand. The holster is of a sort commonly used in police work, which requires pushing a button in order to allow the firearm to be withdrawn – an extra safeguard against an officer’s weapon being taken from the holster during a struggle.

    The security officer who took the weapon then fumbled to remove it from the holster, unable to figure out how the standard release worked, and in the process waving the loaded weapon and pointing it both at the student and others. The student politely requested the firearm be given back to him so he could unholster and unload it, “for my safety and yours”. The security officer refused, then continued fiddling with it while pointing it at the student until both officers together managed to figure out how to get it out of the retaining holster and unload it. Certainly leaves one with the impression that at least some security personnel at GU – I believe one of the men was the director of security – have little practical experience with those scarey “gun” things.

    The reference to “rape” may have come from the fact that the apartment building has many more female than male residents, and the suspect had reportedly tried to gain access to several young women’s apartments before he tried the boys’. They opened the door to the intruder because a friend had left a few moments before, and they thought the friend had returned for something. It’s a dangerous off-campus neighborhood, and all students know to be extra cautious there.

  18. frjim4321 says:

    As I look forward to lovingly preparing my Remington 870 Express for the upcoming whitetail season I am struck by how sympathetically I feel toward these students who seem to have been acting in accord with civil law.

    Unfortunately they were not operating in accord with the stated campus policy, and therefore did open themselves up to proper sanctions from the appropriate body. [To be fair, do we know how well the policy was communicated? It is an off-campus housing situation as I understand it. For example, did the University post the typical “no gun” signs at the entrances to the building? Did they make the students sign something? Or do the students have to have psychic powers to know of the policy?]

    Nevertheless I am happy to see disobedience being commended here in the very same place that I am often castigated for looking askance at some of the opinions included in certain ecclesial writings such as RS, and just yesterday as I recall. [Apples and oranges, pal. But nice try. Keep sighting that rifle, you are shooting low and to the LEFT (usually a trigger/recoil anticipation flaw.]

    I would certainly agree that if it is true that the security official who was charged with confiscating the weapon did not know how to handle it that’s pretty obscene. At the Jesuit university from which I graduated the security officers are all fully sworn and trained peace officers in accord with state law and not rent-a-cops. [Yes. That was one of most alarming things in this tale of woe: Barney Fife gets to break in at 2 and take people’s guns. I wonder what they would have done had there been a biometric safe.]

  19. Maltese says:

    frjim, I’m not a hunter (though was issued an 870 when I was in law enforcement), so I’m curious, do you hunt deer with buckshot or slug rounds with an 870?

  20. John S. says:

    frjim, my understanding is that the two students sincerely had no idea that they were breaking GU rules by having a firearm in an apartment off-campus. There are other students who enjoy shooting sports – some of them friends of these two guys – who live in on-campus housing who go to great lengths to make sure their firearms are stored with families or friends in the larger community, or in storage away from campus. They NEVER bring them on campus – the rules are clear. And for those with carry permits for self-protection – I doubt they feel the need, with the dorm entrance/exit cameras, the watchful presence of campus security, and other measures. Living off-campus in the local neighborhood can have a very different feel, unfortunately.

    I’m stunned at this, of course. Certainly ALL college students read ALL the pages of boilerplate before signing their housing contracts – the contracts they obviously have to sign like everyone else if they hope to bag a room for next year.

  21. BLB Oregon says:

    Apparently the students signed a lease which barred weapons from the property. The question is whether or not it is legal to have such a clause in a rental property lease, since obviously the constitutional right to keep and bear arms doesn’t mean much if your landlord can legally forbid you from keeping or bearing them. It could be argued that an on-campus dorm is a special circumstance, since it is not a permanent domicile. An off-campus apartment, however, might be a special circumstance. Barring guests from bringing weapons onto the property is one thing; barring paying residents from keeping weapons in their primary domicile is something else again. It would be like barring free speech among the residents.

    I can imagine why the University sent security over to collect the weapons the very night they became aware of their existence. They might get sued over the confiscation, and perhaps rightly so, but if anyone in the complex was wounded by weapons that the University was aware were there against their own rules, they could have gotten sued for that, too. Once they knew the weapons were there, they were pretty much stuck with the lesser of the two legal perils.

    A student who didn’t get to have his gun for a few days will be able to get a lot less money out of the school than one who suffered a gunshot wound. If one of these might come to court, it is a no-brainer which one the University lawyers would want to defend. Once it is established that the University has no right to bar residents from keeping and bearing arms, though, then the University will obviously not be liable if someone is shot by a resident of one of their rental units. That is what it will take to force the University to protect gun rights.

  22. frjim4321 says:

    Maltese, I hunt with one-ounce rifled slugs.

    Rev. and Dear Blogmaster, my mantra is “Ready, Aim, Squeeze.”

    (1) Ready: Always be ready, no goofing off with the cell phone, snacks or other toys.
    (2) Aim: Keep you eye on the sights. (Iron sites here, no scope.)
    (3) Squeeze: As in, don’t jerk the trigger. (Only jerks jerk the trigger.)

    [Your mantra could also be applied to the lighting of cigars. *puf* o{];¬) ]

  23. anachy says:

    I don’t get why folks seem to be puzzled and trying to figure out why Fr. Hartin would mention that the student with the firearm might have prevented rape as well as murder & other hideous outcomes. Since when are women the only victims of sexual assault? Does no one remember the two male Franciscan students who were beaten, sexually assaulted and then savagely murdered several years ago? Pity those poor students weren’t armed in their off-campus apartment; had they been, they would likely still be alive today and they and their families spared the hell they were put through. Hats off to that Gonzaga student who was able to protect himself, his roommate, and all their families from what could have turned out to be a true horror, not just for them but for the whole Gonzaga campus.

  24. ocleirbj says:

    About 30 years ago, my husband bought a lot of texts from the series Sources Chretiennes, enough to occupy 3 full yards of bookshelf space, that had been discarded by … Gonzaga U. That speaks volumes [in Latin, Greek and French]

  25. frjim4321 says:

    [Your mantra could also be applied to the lighting of cigars. *puf* o{];¬) ]


    I need to empty my humidor and then make an order.

    Finally after about a year the humidor is well seasoned and keeping steady at 70%

  26. Elizabeth D says:

    There are people starving and you are buying cigars to harm your health with?

  27. wmeyer says:

    The dangers of cigar smoking, Elizabeth, like so many things, have been overblown.

  28. frjim4321 says:

    “There are people starving and you are buying cigars to harm your health with?”

    Are you being serious, Elizabeth D., or is there some hidden message there?

    [No, she’s kidding. No reasonable Catholic would deny a priest a cigar and a glass of something to go with it. But liberals do tend to make this accusation and you, dear Father, are… a … welllll…..]

  29. Maltese says:

    frjim: “(3) Squeeze: As in, don’t jerk the trigger. (Only jerks jerk the trigger.)”

    Indeed, anticipating the shot, especially with a slug round, will send it over your neighbor’s pasture! A good way to practice with a Glock, for instance, is to pull the trigger slowly with the tip of your finger until the shot is fired. We used to practice with live rounds interspersed with dummy rounds, and it’s amazing to see how the entire gun will move at the anticipation of that little explosion going on in your hands (or hand)!

  30. Elizabeth D says:

    I have an ideal of sacrificial giving and putting the poor and the needs of evangelization above luxuries for self. I have never smoked or drank at all and it is hard to relate to wanting to.

    [You just condemned the Wedding at Cana and the Last Supper. o{];¬) ]

  31. Elizabeth D says:

    But this is me and that is you. We can be different people.

    Jesus is good. The rest of us need Him.

  32. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Elizabeth D,

    for cases where you voluntarily abstain from something (“this is me and that is you”, so we’re apparently not talking about binding moral law here), may I suggest you also abstain from moralizing your attitude onto others?

  33. wmeyer says:

    “No reasonable Catholic would deny a priest a cigar and a glass of something to go with it.”

    Not only would I not deny it, I would provide it, and gladly, to any priest. My current bourbon of choice is Buffalo Trace, Fr. Z. Haven’t figured out how to send it through the wires, though. [Gotta work on that one.]

  34. wmeyer says:

    “I have an ideal of sacrificial giving and putting the poor and the needs of evangelization above luxuries for self. I have never smoked or drank at all and it is hard to relate to wanting to.”

    Clearly, you are free to pursue that ideal. But in the spirit of charity, you might wish to bear in mind that it is your ideal, not doctrine, and not required of anyone, not even of you. Therefore, the failure of anyone to follow that ideal is hardly something for which he need feel shame.

  35. frjim4321 says:

    Alert! WMeyer and Fr. Jim AGREE on something!

    Buffalo Trace is wonderful, and I have 1/3 bottle right here on my shelf.

    Maltese, alas my friend’s hunting property is in Ohio and I am limited in my choice of weapons. Indeed handguns are permitted in some instances, but my experience is with the 870.

  36. JaneC says:

    I well remember the uneasy life of a GU student in the Logan Neighborhood. My first room was in a dormitory on a sort of peninsula of the campus that poked out into the neighborhood. It was an all-girl dorm, and when we moved in, we were notified that a registered sex offender lived less than 100 yards from the dorm–his convictions had been for preying on college-age women. Various neighborhood houses were regularly raided for drugs (Spokane is second only to Oakland, CA in meth production). My grandfather wanted to give me a handgun as a college housewarming gift, but I knew I couldn’t have it in the dorm so I turned it down. I often wished I had it, when I was walking home after the 10pm daily Mass. I am disgusted with my alma mater for treating its students this way, but pleased to see Fr. Hartin standing up for courageous students and common sense.

  37. wmeyer says:

    Fr. Z, I’m afraid that no solution this side of alchemy presents itself.

  38. wmeyer says:

    frjim, as a spiritual exercise, I shall offer none of the replies which leap to mind.

  39. frjim4321 says:

    In the sad and unlikely event of WMeyer’s sudden demise this evening he will most likely rocket directly to heaven in view of the extreme heroism of his recent pious gesture.

    My AADD is fully engaged and I’m surfing instead of polishing the homily … where is my Ativan when I really need it!

  40. robtbrown says:

    Elizabeth D says:
    I have an ideal of sacrificial giving and putting the poor and the needs of evangelization above luxuries for self. I have never smoked or drank at all and it is hard to relate to wanting to.

    I prefer Chesterton’s approach: I dip my nib into the cup of Bacchus.

Comments are closed.