Mindless Zero-Tolerance at UGA

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007 11:40 am by Neal

Here’s a ridiculous, local story from the People’s Republic of Athens, Georgia: “Pellet gun lands UGA senior in jail on two felony charges”

A University of Georgia student was arrested on weapons charges early Saturday after a UGA officer patrolling a campus parking lot spotted a recreational pellet gun in the student’s car, UGA police said.

Although he technically violated the law, the student’s mother said campus police over-reacted and should have issued her son a warning.

“It was all a crazy mistake on (my son’s) part, and on their part, it was foolish to even go ahead with the arrest,” said Mary McClure, whose son, Douglas, faces two felony counts of possession of a weapon on school property.

“Right now, I’m figuring out how to pay for an attorney and get him off these charges, which is crazy considering my son has never been in trouble before, and he’s graduating in two months,” Mary McClure said.

The arrest came after the UGA officer was patrolling the railroad lot off Baldwin Street and saw what looked like a gun on the floor of a car, according to UGA police Lt. Lisa Boone. Officers routinely patrol campus parking lots to thwart car break-ins and other crimes.

Officers watched the car, waiting for the owner to return, Boone said, and took McClure into custody at about 1:50 a.m.

The gun actually was an airsoft pistol that shoots plastic pellets, according to Mary McClure, who said a friend gave her son the pistol a couple weeks ago.

“He just tossed it in the car and didn’t realize it was there,” said Mary McClure, who said her son usually drives a scooter to school from his South Lumpkin Street residence, and used his car the night he was arrested because he went into town for a concert.

When officers searched McClure’s car, they found a knife with a 3-inch blade, leading to a second count of possession of a weapon on school grounds, according to police. Under state law, any weapon “designed or intended to propel a missile of any kind” is a felony crime.

“They pose a danger to the university community,” Boone said. “A lot of these airsoft guns look realistic, and they can cause all kinds of problems, like create misunderstanding and put the student and others in danger.”

McClure remained in jail until about 4 p.m. Saturday, when he was released on a $3,000 bond, his mother said.

Is anyone surprised that the mindless policy of “zero tolerance” has made it to the University of Georgia? Of course not. Mindless zero-tolerance, political-correctness and Universities go together like activists and body odor. Since this event occurred in Georgia (as opposed to, say, New Jersey, California or Taxachusetts), there are some natives who won’t submit to this insanity without a fight. For example, this letter was printed in yesterday’s Athens Banner-Herald:

Congratulations to University of Georgia police for the recent sting operation which led ultimately to a gun bust (Story, “Pellet gun lands UGA senior in jail on two felony charges,” Feb. 20). A keen eye for crime combined with a gut feeling led officers to a vehicle reeking of trouble. There they found a weapon capable of shooting a plastic pellet faster than the speed limit in some rural areas.

A stakeout was set up, and upon his return to the vehicle, the hardened criminal was arrested. I wonder whether the arresting officer actually removed the bullet from his front pocket before approaching the man. Word on the street is that the officers also seized several pointed pencils, a curiously sharp protractor and a cell phone set on vibrate mode. All were likely sent off for DNA testing.

Luke Smith


Way to go, Luke, with the great observations and suggestions.

We think that, given UGA’s stellar handling of this crisis, the entire UGA police force should be promoted to the Department of Homeland Security. Anything less would be a waste of talent.

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