Time to Retire the Phrase ‘Trigger Warning’


America’s college campuses have been dominated by the political left for decades. The latest manifestation of that dominance is the “trigger warning”–a signal to students and faculty that they may be about to hear a politically incorrect idea that might cause some discomfort, or provoke (heaven forbid!) an unusual or unexpected thought. Yet after yet another mass shooting on campus, the time may have come to retire the phrase “trigger warning” itself.

The disconnect between the violence that students have actually faced, and the sort of imagined psychological harm they are thought to risk in what used to be called academic debate, is beyond jarring. Words have meaning, and the use of violent imagery to describe the non-violent process of higher learning is offensive–not ban-this-word-lest-any-potential-members-of-a-victimized-group-feel-uncomfortable, but just repulsive, as in poor intellectual taste.

We are shielding students from thoughts, but not from weapons.

It is well past time to recognize that the common denominator in recent mass shootings is the fact that most of the targets were unguarded. The Umpqua Community College reportedly had one guard, who was unarmed. It seems easier and more effective to make sure someone at school can deter a would-be shooter, rather than trying to pry handguns away from millions of law-abiding citizens.

The left is obsessed with pursuing campus “rape culture” and creating “safe spaces”–emotionally and intellectually safe, that is. Little thought seems to have gone into the physical protection of students, whether at colleges or high schools.

Since there is virtually no gun law–short of repealing the Second Amendment–that would have stopped the shooter at Umpqua, perhaps it is worth exploring a fewalternative proposals? Or does that idea need a trigger warning?