As a father myself, as well as a friend of someone who was killed in a still “unsolved” stabbing, I want to express my deepest sympathy to Lori Brown. She is the mother of Harrison Brown, who was killed in the 2017 spree-stabbing on the UT Austin campus. The “Bowie Bill”, legalizing carry of knives above 5.5″ in length and removing bans on particular blade shapes, suddenly looked to be doomed in the legislature when a last minute deal was struck classifying schools, bars, and colleges as restricted areas where prohibition would remain in force. The bill passed, was signed by the Governor, and went into effect Sept 1, 2017. Now Lori Brown has begun a push to see the law repealed.
From Texas Tribune:
(I)n memory of Harrison, Lori Brown has set her sights on another HB: House Bill 1935, a new state law that allows Texans to wield just about any knife just about anywhere. The irony of the initials, she says, still jabs at her.
The bill was up for consideration in the Texas House in early May 2017, the week Harrison Brown was killed.
On that Monday, police say Kendrex White, then a 21-year-old biology major at UT-Austin, stabbed four male victims outside the campus’s main gym. White has since been charged with murder and assault, and he has been found competent to stand trial despite past mental health issues.
Harrison Brown, who had just finished a workout, was the only fatality. He had just called his mother — to reassure he that he was awake for class and tell her that he loved her — as he did every day. Lori Brown has kept his bloody backpack still stocked with everything he was carrying that day, down to a half-full water bottle.
On the Friday after the stabbing, the Texas House unanimously passed a resolution honoring Harrison’s memory. Four days later, the lower chamber passed the knife bill with just three “nay” votes; it would pass the Senate almost unanimously two weeks later. Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, signed it into law in June.
Harrison’s death is a tragedy, and his mother can be forgiven for seeking “vindication” in the wake of his murder. However, her quest is a Quixotic one. Check the logic: A mentally ill person carried out a heinous act, using a knife that was illegal at the time and location. A bill passes which ensures said knife remains illegal in said location. She would like to repeal said law, with the result that the knife in question would still be illegal on UT’s campus. Meanwhile, it remains illegal in Texas and most other jurisdictions to commit murder.
Perps don’t care about the laws, and they could just as easily try to mow people down with their car. The spree-stabber at The Ohio State University did just that – after pulling the fire alarm to bring everyone outside into his chosen ground.
Doug Ritter, Chairman of Knife Rights and driving force behind the passage of H.B. 1935, issued the following statement:
“We cannot begin to comprehend Mrs. Brown’s grief. It is understandable that this grieving mother would want to do something to address the cause of her son’s murder, but restricting the freedom of law-abiding Texans by reinstating clearly irrational and ineffective bans on some particular type of knife is not a solution.”
You can read the complete text of the Knife Rights press release here.
Again, we sympathize with Mrs. Brown. However, the feeling that we must “do something” while understandable, is a misguided errand. The remedy she seeks in no way would have prevented her son’s murder, but does infringe upon the rights of law abiding citizens to carry the tools of their choice. This is not an acceptable balance, no matter how tragic the motivation.