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Dr. Gerry Som


Could America's Gun Problem Lead to Brain Drain?

Posted: 12/24/2012 12:18 pm

I am a Canadian citizen born in India. I love America. There, I said it. I have always grown up loving America. However, something changed. I am afraid of America now. No, I am not talking of geo-political stature or positioning. I am talking of the gun culture and the stories of shootings I read on the Internet.

If hundreds of thousands of other potential graduate students like me feel this way, it will affect America's brainpower.

I just completed my MBA courses at Ryerson University in Toronto and will graduate next year. One of my dreams has always been to study at an Ivy League university in America.

At one time it seemed impossible, but now it seems doable. My sister is an Ivy League graduate. Some of my medical school friends are now working at Harvard. My school quiz teammate at Ryerson has a PhD from the prestigious MIT university.

December is when PhD programs in North America accept applications for next year's fall admissions. A part of me is eager to apply to the Ivy League schools and premier American non-Ivy League schools for PhD programs in Business Administration or a DBA (Doctorate in Business Administration).

Yeah, I am crazy about learning business strategy. Learning never ends. Some people jump off planes with parachutes attached to their backs to get an adrenaline rush. Some of us just go to school to get the same euphoria from learning something new every day!

There is a catch, though. I am a careful person. I do not think I would ever go bungee jumping, hang gliding or even hop into a roller coaster. It is not that I am not man enough. I just feel that I need to protect my brain, which I have worked hard to develop from all the years of university learning. Therefore, when the time comes to decide if I should apply to American schools my brain says "No." Why?

The question on my mind is now this -- are the schools and universities in America safe? I am not going to get into a political debate about guns. I respect the views people have. However, I feel strongly about keeping guns out of schools, something which the National Rifle Association (NRA) is vowing to do. More guns make me feel less safe. What if other foreign students feel the same?

A brain drain can occur in two ways: when highly-trained graduates leave a country and go to another country, or when the existing talent pool of graduates graduate from universities and are not replaced by fresh talent.

I am talking about the latter: a lack of replenishment in American universities that will lead to a brain drain. What could happen if thousands of graduates stop applying to premier American universities because they disagree with its gun culture permeating schools.

Remember, countries like India and China have plenty of new universities springing up in every city, and many of these universities are top-notch. After all, students in these universities read books written by American and British authors. The Internet has made it possible to learn new topics no matter where you live.

Who could benefit from this phenomenon of phobia towards American universities? Other countries like Canada, England, and Australia that all have good universities.

Canada has similar learning and career opportunities to America. So why go elsewhere? I feel slightly conflicted about not applying to America universities since it has long been my dream, but in the end, I am happy to stay back in Canada where I feel safe.

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  • Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)

    "I wish to God she had had an m-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out ... and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids," Gohmert said of slain principal Dawn Hochsprung on <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/louie-gohmert-guns_n_2311379.html"><em>Fox News Sunday</em></a>. He argued that shooters often choose schools because they know people will be unarmed.

  • Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R)

    "If people were armed, not just a police officer, but other school officials that were trained and chose to have a weapon, certainly there would be an opportunity to stop an individual trying to get into the school," he <a href="http://www.wtop.com/610/3162096/Gov-Is-it-time-to-arm-school-officials">told WTOP's "Ask the Governor" show</a> Tuesday, warning that Washington may respond to such a policy with a "knee-jerk reaction."

  • Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) & State Sen. Frank Niceley (R)

    Gov. Haslam says he will consider a Tennessee plan to secretly arm and train some teachers, <a href="http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/12/tennessee-armed-teachers.php">TPM reports</a>. The legislation will be introduced by State Sen. Frank Niceley (R) next month. "Say some madman comes in. The first person he would probably try to take out was the resource officer. But if he doesn’t know which teacher has training, then he wouldn’t know which one had [a gun]," Niceley told TPM. "These guys are obviously cowards anyway and if someone starts shooting back, they’re going to take cover, maybe go ahead and commit suicide like most of them have."

  • Oklahoma State Rep. Mark McCullough (R) & State Sen. Ralph Shortey (R)

    State Rep. Mark McCullough (R) <a href="http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=336&articleid=20121217_336_0_OKLAHO168827">told the Tulsa World</a> he plans to file legislation that would bring guns into schools, calling their absence "irresponsible." “It is incredibly irresponsible to leave our schools undefended – to allow mad men to kill dozens of innocents when we have a very simple solution available to us to prevent it," he said. "I’ve been considering this proposal for a long time. In light of the savagery on display in Connecticut, I believe it’s an idea whose time has come." Sen. Ralph Shortey (R) told the Tulsa World that teachers should carry concealed weapons at school events. "Allowing teachers and administrators with concealed-carry permits the ability to have weapons at school events would provide both a measure of security for students and a deterrent against attackers," he said.

  • Florida State Rep. Dennis Baxley (R)

    Baxley, who once sponsored Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law, <a href="http://politics.heraldtribune.com/2012/12/17/florida-legislator-allow-guns-in-schools/">told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune </a>that keeping guns out of schools makes them a target for attacks. “We need to be more realistic at looking at this policy," he said. "In our zealousness to protect people from harm we’ve created all these gun-free zones and what we’ve inadvertently done is we’ve made them a target. A helpless target is exactly what a deranged person is looking for where they cannot be stopped.”

  • Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R)

    At a Tea Party event Monday night, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/18/rick-perry-guns-in-schools_n_2322185.html">Perry praised a Texas school system that allows some staff to carry concealed weapons to work</a> and encouraged local school districts to make their own policies.

  • Minnesota State Rep. Tony Cornish (R)

    Cornish <a href="http://www.kdlt.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=22736&Itemid=57">plans to introduce legislation that would allow teachers to arm themselves</a>, according to the AP.

  • Oregon State Rep. Dennis Richardson (R)

    In an email <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/17/oregon-state-rep-dennis-richardson-teacher-guns-stopped-connecticut-shooting_n_2317444.html?ir=Education">obtained by Gawker</a> and excerpted below, Richardson tells three superintendents that he could have saved lives had he been armed and in Sandy Hook on Friday: <blockquote>If I had been a teacher or the principal at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and if the school district did not preclude me from having access to a firearm, either by concealed carry or locked in my desk, most of the murdered children would still be alive, and the gunman would still be dead, and not by suicide. ... [O]ur children's safety depends on having a number of well-trained school employees on every campus who are prepared to defend our children and save their lives?</blockquote>

  • Former Education Secretary Bill Bennett

    "And I'm not so sure -- and I'm sure I'll get mail for this -- I'm not so sure I wouldn't want one person in a school armed, ready for this kind of thing," Bennett, who served as education secretary under Ronald Reagan, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/bill-bennett-education-secretary-connecticut-shooting_n_2311774.html">told <em>Meet the Press</em> Sunday</a>. "The principal lunged at this guy. The school psychologist lunged at the guy. It has to be someone who's trained, responsible. But, my god, if you can prevent this kind of thing, I think you ought to."