Carter Maddox did not think his sleeveless shirt event on Facebook would cause more than 700 people from across the state to take interest in protest against concealed carry.
“It started as a joke,” said Maddox, literature graduate student. “I wore a sleeveless shirt to work at the Writing Center one day. Another one of the tutors, Will, was joking how he wished he could wear sleeveless shirts to work.”
Maddox said concealed weapons became the main topic during conversations about wearing sleeveless shirts to work. He said the idea of making a day to wear sleeveless shirts became more serious, after the group decided to bare their natural “guns” as a protest against concealed carry.
Ky Stevens, English senior and Writing Center tutor, said through the discussion of bearing arms the group decided to use social media to open the discussion to everyone. Stevens said he does not know if everyone who confirmed went sleeveless. The point of the event was to increase discussion about the topic, he said.
“We were not trying to cause a rally or stage a demonstration,” Stevens said. “We were merely wanting to raise awareness about the fact lawmakers are in the process of passing legislation to allow people with a concealed handgun license to bring their weapon into a classroom.”
Maddox said students from University of North Texas, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas were confirmed to take part, but he does not know if they participated. Maddox said he did not see many people going sleeveless at the Texas State campus, but was surprised at the amount of students who received the message. Maddox said he and friends invited people they knew to join and word branched out from there. He said people posted their opinions on the Facebook event page all week.
“We have 32,000 students at our campus, so even if that 700 was from here it wouldn’t be that great, you know,” Maddox said. “But it is still OK. More than anything, what was important was the conversation that took place on the Facebook wall about the issue.”
Jarod Easley, secondary education graduate student, said he stumbled upon the event on Facebook. Easley wore a yellow shirt yesterday that read, “Hand jobs, not guns.” Easley said his shirt has three different meanings. He said the first is sexual, the second is about creating jobs and the third is about manual labor.
“A lot of what goes on in school shootings, like Columbine, is direct result of an oppressed sexual energy,” Easley said. “I think schools contribute to the disease. The disease of people feeling the need to make a statement by pulling the trigger.”
Austin Garrett, economics sophomore, said if people could carry concealed weapons, they would be able to defend themselves in a dangerous situation.
“Fort Hood, for example, would have been a lot less gruesome if the residents at that building had the ability to carry weapons,” Garrett said. “So as a result a lot more people died that day then what should have happened.”
Stevens said social media has a large impact on students’ opinions to proposed legislation. He said outlets like Facebook can reach more people who voice their opinion.
“I thought the event was effective as a social media outlet for people to create a dialogue about concealed carry and just get some opinion about it,” Stevens said. “Really tearing your sleeves off and showing up to campus was not the main point of the event at all. The main point of the event was for people to post some opinion.”