As my colleague Peter Blackstock has reported, singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne canceled his concert scheduled for Thursday at the University of Texas’ Bass Concert Hall. LaMontagne’s reason: the state law expanding the rights of handgun licensees to carry such weapons in a concealed manner on public college campuses.
LaMontagne is not the only prominent person to step away from UT on account of the law. Earlier, the sociologist and civil rights activist Harry Edwards told the university to strip his name from a lecture series named in his honor. UT established the “Dr. Harry Edwards Lectures on Sport and Society” in 2014 in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing of the Civil Rights Act.
“My decision was an exceedingly difficult one, but silence is evil’s greatest and most consistently dependable ally,” Edwards, a professor emeritus of the University of California in Berkeley, wrote in a letter to officials of the Texas Program in Sports and Media at UT’s Moody College of Communication.
“The very fact of guns in the class room and on campus inevitably has a ‘chilling effect’ upon the higher education process,” Edwards wrote. “As a practical reality, guns within easy reach by college-aged young people, often living under personal and academic pressures, inevitably will give rise to greater problems of individual suicide, homicide, and accidental death and wounding than to any resolution of the theoretical possibility (not probability) of a mass murder shooter on campus.”