Here in Texas, public universities are trying to figure out how they’re going to comply with a recently enacted state campus-carry law so that licensed handgun owners can bring their firearms to campus. A small sampling of local news articles and websites on this topic:

- http://campuscarry.unt.edu/
- https://inhouse.unt.edu/unt-must-plan-thoughtful-implementation-new-campus-carry-law
- http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Campus-Carry-Task-Force-Begins-Meeting-with-UNT-Students-332574672.html
- http://www.dentonrc.com/local-news/local-news-headlines/20151102-campus-carry-may-wind-up-in-court.ece
- http://ntdaily.com/faculty-campus-carry-meeting-heats-up/

And in the midst of this debate, I found the opportunity for a mathematical wisecrack.

I’ve used this wisecrack in my probability class to great effect, as the joke pedagogically illustrates the important difference between and .

For what it’s worth, here’s the version of the joke as I first saw it (in the book Absolute Zero Gravity):

Then there was the statistician who hated to fly because he had nightmares about terrorists with bombs. Yes, he knew that it was a million to one chance, but that wasn’t good enough. So he took a lot of trains until he realized what he had to do.

Now, whenever he flies, he packs a bomb in his own suitcase. Hey, do you know what the odds are against an airplane carrying two bombs?

Two final notes:

- For the humor-impaired, I’m not referring to all gun owners as idiots. The only people I’m calling idiots are me and those that would slaughter innocent people (and these two sets are disjoint).
- Though it’s certainly an important issue, I have no interest in debating the wisdom of the campus-carry law on this blog. Rather, the point of this post was using current events to memorably illustrate mathematical ideas.

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