"Mind if I borrow a pencil? Oh, and can you spare a few bullets?" What a scary but possibly realistic thought.After last week's horrific and latest mass school shooting, 12 states are beginning to debate one of the stupidest things ever conceived. Please read with neutrality and form your own opinion.

Following the North Illinois University rampage on Valentine's Day where Stephen Kazmierczak killed seven and injured 15 before shooting himself, we're reminded of the Virginia Tech incident of 2007 where 33 people were killed, which reminds us of the 2006 Amish schoolhouse murders where 10 schoolgirls (ages 6 to 13) were shot, which reminds us of Columbine in 1999 that seemingly started it all. So what's the solution? Does one exist?

A few states seem to think the answer is allowing guns on campus. Read it again. A few states seem to think the answer is allowing guns on campus. Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, South Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington are considering bills that would allow people with concealed-weapons permits to carry guns at public universities.

Students for Concealed Carry on Campus is calling attention to the issue with a protest from April 21-25, a week after the one-year anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings. During the protest, for which about 1,600 nationwide students have signed up so far, participants will be attending school wearing empty gun holsters around their waists. If their dreams are answered, those holsters won't have to be empty.

"The only way to stop a person with a gun is another person with a gun," Michael Flitcraft, a University of Cincinnati sophomore, told USA Today last week. He has a license to carry guns but because of the university's common-sense rules, is prohibited from bringing them onto campus.

I am not trying to sound like a peace-loving hippy by any means, but answering these massacres with firearms freedom is not even close to being the answer. If some down-trod-den individual chooses to take his or her problems out on innocent and unsuspecting peers, there is not much that truly can prevent it from happening.

Sure, security can be beefed up. More surveillance cameras can be installed. Communication in certain situations can be improved. But no one ' absolutely no one ' has the ability to get inside someone's head to see it coming.

It's frightening but true ' this can happen anywhere. The select states, however, that want to answer the abrupt violence with more retaliation violence have their preventative priorities all wrong.

Only Utah currently allows permit holders to carry guns on the campuses of its nine public universities. USA Today ran a striking photograph last week of a University of Utah student's waist. Strapped to his belt were a cell phone and a Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun. Unbelievable.

Omar Samaha's sister, Reema, was killed during the Virginia Tech rampage. He shared his thoughts on this stunning legislation with the media a few days ago.

"Allowing guns on campuses is a risk in an environment where young people drink and fight and are not always able to control their emotions," he said.

"It's kind of a crazy notion to think about. It takes us back to the Wild, Wild West." Well said.

My biggest concerns about sending my children to college are escalating tuition costs and campus life. I do not want to worry about my son or daughter sitting in an Intro to Geography course surrounded by fellow students ready to shoot.

In a world where our intentions are always to look ahead and push forward, allowing loaded guns on college campuses is not only a thoughtless move into a scary past, but a step into an unknown direction that will just lead to more deaths and unmitigated, constant fear, let alone hapless accidents.

Chris Barnes is the former editor of The Free Press and The Saucon News. His e-mail address is chrisbarnesopinion@gmail.com. His columns, archives and more are available online at www.cjbarnes.blogspot.com.

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