Who Are These People?

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Police are seeking a man who stabbed a Syracuse bar patron with a sword.  (Photo credit should read TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/GettyImages)

Police are seeking a man who stabbed a Syracuse bar patron with a sword. (Photo credit should read TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/GettyImages)

RAYDUNAWAY Ray Dunaway
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Just who are these people?

Just who is Ray Boyer?  He’s the director of North Dakota State University’s Police and Safety Office, and is responsible for enforcing safety regulations on the school’s Fargo campus.  As you might expect, the schools code of conduct is pretty standard, forbidding underage drinking, sexual harassment, racial discrimination- in other words what you might expect.  And the code also bans weapons, and that’s where the problem arises.  It seems Mr. Boyer takes his job seriously, and that’s why a few weeks ago, he informed the Fencing Club that they were in violation of that provision, and would no longer be able to practice their sport on school property.  The code states specifically that sabers and swords are forbidden, writing “They are deemed weapons, and as such, possession or use on University owned or controlled property is prohibited” (I like the wording of the last sentence, if not the reasoning behind it).

The fencing coach, Enrique Alvarez points out that in fencing, the sabers, foils and espees used have no sharp edges, or points. There is a “spring and a flat tip and if you press the spring against your opponent” you are awarded a point.  No blood, and since contestants wear mesh masks, no skewered eyeballs. But weapon are weapons, not unlike fingers or pop-tarts used by would-be elementary school felons to represent “guns”. Rules are rules. End of discussion.

But does enforcement go far enough?  Can’t a baseball bat be deadly?  If you saw Brian DePalma’s “Untouchables”, you know the answer to that question.  How about the golf team?  Wasn’t a 5- iron used in the murder of Martha Moxley? That’s what the evidence presented at the trial of Michael Skakel evidence showed.  And don’t think basketball is exempt.  Mafia hitman, Johnny Martorano claimed in a 60 Minutes interview he was planning to load a basketball with C-4 to rid Boston’s Winter Hill Gang of a troublesome columnist.  Granted, that last example may be a stretch.

Years ago, Phillip K. Howard wrote a book entitled, “The Death Of Common Sense”, in which he foresaw situations such as the most recent one at NDSU.  Unlike last week’s NCA report, his predictions have proven to be far more accurate.

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