As a life long Illinois resident, I was shocked and saddened by the NIU shootings yesterday in Dekalb, IL.
Realizing that this is a delicate subject, I hope that the responses are kept in the spirit of my concerns.
I searched several university websites to see what was offered in terms of campus safety and what I found was that there was no mention of what student/faculty should do if confronted with an armed assailant in the classroom.
Then I got to wondering about intel in terms of; if you publish what to do, then a potential assailant would know what to do. In other words, you basically provide a blueprint for an incident.
So, how do you send the message to those wishing to be safe? How can we make our campuses safer without interfering with the college experience and creating a "how to" for someone wishing to exact harm?
I have read so much in the past 24 hours. Some of it is emotionally charged reactions such as arming professors to arming students who have gun permits. It has been mentioned that colleges with ROTC programs could arm ROTC candidates. To me, that sounds like "wild west" thinking.
This is another situation where pre-screening will likely "miss" potential threats. It is truly a conundrum.
There is quite a bit of literature on increasing safety for responders, but as I said, there is little more than nothing for the safety of students and faculty who are confronted with an armed assailant.
Is there anyone out there who has experience with this that could offer insight?
It is a national dilemma that must be addressed.
A very dear friend of mine responded to NIU yesterday and what he described to me was bone chilling and mind boggling. To hear how he was affected by it in the aftermath; I can't imagine what it was like for the innocent young adults who were ambushed during what was suppose to be the best years of their lives.
And I will leave it at that.
As a college I would do something different with my entering students. The idea of letting students carry guns in class I am not all for, but possibley teachers yes. But I still dont think this is the answer. All of the students that have done this have been able to do the work in class, but has had mental issues. Are these students given a psychological evaluation? If they had would this have happened? Maybe maybe not. This is a question that will never get answered. As far as in the future security will have to added at all doors to stop kids from entering with weapons and to aid in violent crimes in the hall ways. These are all possible answers to a overlooked problem. Some high schools here have metal detectors in the enterence ways and a gaurd in case of problems. Will this help with the total problem probably not, but it will help with some of the problem. If they want to get a weapon in the school they will get it there somehow. Hope someone gets this figured out soon, before everyone is to scared to go to college.
Concealed weapons on campus, period. If the knuckleheads think they are gonna get dropped before they get the safety off...well, it might just make them hesitate long enough to see what an irrational thing it is they are about to do.
First and foremost we have got to get rid of this politically correct society we live in.
We praise our kids for nothing, have to have a positive home ...right? NO we don't. we need to teach our kids taht they are going to fail at some things and more importantly, how to deal with failure. If there is no pass/fail mentality, they expect everything to go their way. And when it doesnt, they have no capacity to deal with it in a rational manner.
So until then...allow licenced gun owners to carry weapons. The registered gun owner is about as likely to shoot innocent people as nothing. Put doubt in the murderers heads. And if they do pull a gun, odds are someone in class will shoot back before 20 are gunned down again.
for the record I own a handgun, but it stays at a brother firefighters house.
I can't say that I'm in favor of allowing concealed weapons on campus. So you have a mentally ill student, or stranger, or someone with an agenda who storms a classroom; in the ensuing panic (and there's a big difference in a licensed gun owner firing rounds at a range and being placed directly in the line of fire and being asked to return fire in a methodical and accurate fashion) you now have a deadly crossfire, with innocents trapped directly in the crosshairs instead of one shooter (who might be loaded for bear with explosives in addition to whatever weapons he or she is carrying).
In these times I think campus administrators need to look long and hard at placing metal detectors and armed security at the entrance to every building on campus. Yes, it's expensive. Yes, it's time consuming to filter a large group of bodies through them, but what's the alternative? Someone with a grudge, real or imagined, with mental health issues will see or read about this most recent shooting and will begin the plan to copycat. We can't afford not to put more extreme safety measures in place.
I have more thoughts regarding anonymous reporting of threatening behavior to a crisis intervention team and panic button measures within the classroom, but duty calls. I'll post again later.
Seung-Hui Cho, the killer at Virginia Tech was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, was declared by a judge to be mentally ill; yet, legally purchased the guns used in his killing spree that left 32 dead.
Steven Kazmierczak, the killer at NIU was treated for a mental disorder, had stopped taking prescribed medication, had become "erratic" and yet; was able to legally purchase the guns used in his killing spree that left 6 dead.
So, after we allow the students and teachers to arm themselves, how many of them will have mental conditions that would otherwise disqualify them from owning a gun?
It seems like psyche's have become so fragile and yet, the shooters appear to be desensitized to the brutality of their actions.
We have become a society of the ready excuses, because we become so obsessed with the "why" to the point that we have to trace it WAY back to bed-wetting or bullying, that we forget the "what" as in "what do we need to do to protect the law abiding from those who would harm them"?
I heard that the mass casualty plan in place went very well and that is good news if you are an emergency responder, but don't you find it sad that we have to practice for this type of incident?
WE have a plan POST INCIDENT. Unfortunately, many colleges don't have a pre-plan for armed violence.
Man, oh man.
Yes, in my opinion guns should be allowed. The issue should be the required course in using the thing before you are allowed to carry it. I carry a weapon every day, but have been to L.F.I. and Thunder Ranch for the requisite training on how to use the thing. With rights come responsibilities. By the way, I'm a fan of "wild west" thinking. People not counting on government to solve their problems. IF YOU ARE JUST IN YOUR ACTIONS, IN DEFENSE OF YOURSELF OR OTHERS, THERE IS NO PROBLEM. We break into houses with no-one home all the time. Should I be tried for that when I am fighting a fire there? Is that not breaking and entering? Why then should I be put through the ringer when I shoot someone in defense of myself or another? Acts of good will and faith should be met with good will and faith. OK, so now I'll stand back and take it like a man.
I saw on the news that a Congressman was blaming violent video games.
Just like you have people blaming gun manufacturers, we now have those who say the state of our youth can once again be traced to TV and video games.
And for the record, I will state now and forever that I am NOT anti-gun. I'd be packin' heat right now if I didn't live in Illinois. I believe that not knowing WHO is and who isn't is a very strong deterrent. Most of the cowards out there are committing crimes because we have been told "not to resist".
Might for right and right for might. OK, a movie bastardization of a just concept, but the sentiment rings true. Do you remember when the last time there was a school shooting in Gaza? That's right neither does anyone else. Even the worst place to be on Earth has no school shootings. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that the teachers are REQUIRED to be armed? To hell with bureaucrats! Lets all defend ourselves! For protection from violence, 911 is government sanctioned dial a prayer.
ok.....where was I?......In addition to metal detectors and controlled access to campus facilities, I've long been a supporter of an anonymous reporting program to some form of crisis intervention team. I always wonder if individuals who are aware that something isn't right with a person that they work or attend classes with would be more willing to speak up if they could do so anonymously, but with a guarantee of followup.
This may or may not have been useful in terms of the Illinois shooting, as the shooter was profiled as being an "outstanding student", "well-liked, well-adjusted, cheerful" etc.
However, reports are surfacing that he was on medication which he had ceased taking and had been acting erratically for approximately two weeks prior to the shooting. In the case of the Virginia Tech shooter, he was clearly demonstrating anti-social and hostile traits which increased in frequency in the days leading up to the shooting.
Why not an online message box on campus? Every student in every college across the United States is given an educational email account. Admin could set up an anonymous "drop box" area on the main site so that if a student or even a faculty member or campus employee had concerns about a fellow student's or coworkers comments or behavior, they could report online. I realize this has inherent possibilities for "crying wolf" or for someone with a vendetta or on a witch hunt could feasibly use the feature as an opportunity to get revenge or create difficulties for another individual, but I also think that this could be a reasonable filtering tactic as a first catch option. The reports could go to admin or a team trained in recognizing displayed hostile character traits or similar to initiate an investigation, review the person in question's academic records, and look for red flags. There's more to this logistically than meets the eye...but it's a thought.
EVERY academic institution should have a crisis response procedure in place which should be outlined and presented to every student during orientation.
By the way, I'm not opposed to guns per se. I am simply concerned that the average vs. avid gun owner may or may not have sufficient proper training or capability to remain calm in a crisis situation to responsibly carry a weapon on campus.
What ever happened to us? We were a proud and strong people we Americans. Is that all over with the youth and teachers of today? Why do we need anonymous anything? In my day and area we stood up and said what we felt and knew. If there was a wrong we stood up and did something. It was probably never the right thing to do in the limited understanding of youth, but we were proud to DO something. If we screwed up we admitted it, owned it and moved on. Why are we such weak pathetic individuals now, who can't say there is a wrong when we see it? I for one am not into the touchy feely bullshit of today and will be standing up and saying, "Hey, I think this guy's nuts! Get him away from me and my family". Is anyone out there with me or am I missing the boat? By the way, this may explain my divorce! This place is good therapy.
I don't think it's necessarily a "today" issue....if you'll recall, Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death on an upscale NYC street; the act was witnessed and admitted to being witnessed by more than 20 residents in the area, and yet not a single one called the police or did a single thing to try and intercede. Why? "It wasn't my business" "I didn't want to get involved" "I was afraid". That was 1964, not last year.
I think it's a part of human nature that none of us like to admit to, but there's an inherent CYA gene in all of us. So you see someone behaving in a strange or threatening manner....do you report it? What are the circumstances surrounding what you've witnessed? I watched a man staggering down Washington Avenue Extension last week. He was aggressive, possibly drunk or medicated, possibly schizophrenic....I don't know why he was behaving the way he was, but he was swinging at cars as they passed him, he was weaving in and out of traffic, daring the cars to hit him.....and I looked at the other drivers around me all shaking their heads, locking their doors...yet I didn't see a one pick up a cell phone to stop an impending tragedy. I called 911 and reported him as a danger to himself and to the motorists on the road, but I can't say that I was all that surprised at the "I don't want to get involved" attitude. That's not to say that for every act of selfish self-preservation that there aren't acts of untold bravery...but I think that's integrity overcoming self-preservation, and it's not as common as it could be.
And what if you're wrong? What if the person you accuse finds out that you reported them, and then decide that a lawsuit for defamation is warranted. There are myriad reasons why people don't like to get involved, but the likelihood of someone taking the initiative to report is increased in direct relation to the degree of anonymity afforded.
Does all that matter if it keeps one more disenfranchised or deranged individual from shooting at defenseless students?
The thing that kills me here in Rhode Island was the debate over whether Campus Police Officers (URI) could carry firearms. They treated them more like meter maids (parking ticket wars) and security than the role of police officers. With the cost of college Tuition, I find there to be more than enough money to help pay for police presence on campuses around the country. If the daily presence of a police officer (or more depending on campus size) thwarts a plan of violence, or gets nipped in the bud as it begins, than it would have paid for itself.