Lock the door and let them carry: A critical rhetorical analysis of Texas Senate Bill 11 and Texas Tech University policies
Seymore, Jack T.
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At Texas Tech University, a State law known as Senate Bill 11 (Campus Carry) allows licensed individuals to carry concealed weapons to most parts of the campus including student union buildings, classrooms, and instructors’ offices. Campus Carry completely alters the culture and power dynamics of the university by smothering the rights of non-carriers and bolstering the right of carriers; as a result, power becomes rhetorically defined by weapons, threats, and violence. Using a critical rhetorical study, the following project examines Texas Tech’s Campus Carry policies as well as the creation, debating of, and text of the State bill. Passive biopower, or the individual and societal provocation of action and identity through inactive means, acts as the primary tool through which the State disciplines and controls the campus. Carriers become ‘tools of discipline’ as non-official State police forces that panoptically subjugate non-carriers. The already rampant gun culture at Texas Tech University becomes more prevalent through the bolstering of a ‘carrier identity’ built on threat construction and a championing of gun rights. All to say, that the only people at Texas Tech University that do not get to access to their own versions of safety are those who choose not carry a firearm.