It has been over a week since we found out about the “gunman” on campus and hopefully some dust has settled.
It is amazing how quickly everyone went into panic mode. The majority of students’ reactions I have heard involved people automatically assuming or thinking “what if?” What if the guy with a gun started shooting randomly? What if it turned into a Virginia Tech? What if he went into other dorm rooms? What if?
I, however, am consumed with: What if it had happened in off-campus housing? Would the guy with a gun who was looking for a particular individual still be labeled as a “gunman.” Would everyone be up in arms about not receiving a text message informing the entire campus population that a gunman was near campus?
The biggest concern I have is that a guy can get into the dorms with a gun and the lack of security. Then again, dorm safety has long been questionable with several sexual assault cases last semester and numerous arrests for possession of illegal substances reported in the crime log.
Everyone wants to say this could have turned into Virginia Tech and we should have been notified. The campus alert system that notified students last semester as a test, sent an email and voicemail to faculty and students. I heard some people even got text messages.
I received a call, and not recognizing the number I sent it straight to voicemail only to listen to it a few hours later. So how many of the people crying that they didn’t get the message would have actually paid attention to it?
And, did we really need it? On very rare occasions do I agree with our campus police, but in this circumstance I think they handled it appropriately. They responded to the students’ calls within minutes and called LAPD for backup, who in turn responded with a helicopter. I would like to see the apartments on Darby Avenue get a LAPD helicopter.
The police responded and determined it was an isolated event. Look at one of the students who was involved and was reported saying “they’re not out to get anyone else.” Would you send out a message to thousands telling them a guy with a gun was chasing another guy who was mean to his sister? How many students would have taken heed and stayed inside? How many would have ventured outside with their cameras and phones to see what was going on?
This can all be debated, how many students went outside to see why a helicopter was flying around? How many students were put in harm’s way and could have become an innocent bystander if the guy with the gun decided to start shooting randomly?
This is kind of true, but if you have a gun and really wanted to kill someone or hurt someone, are you going to let a sliding-glass window stop you from getting to that person? Probably not. If you were going to go on a shooting rampage you probably would have shot through the glass and started shooting in the dorm before moving on to the next dorm.
It was apparent this guy wasn’t on some crazy mission. Though his actions have highlighted that the university needs to figure out its campus alert system and do something about dorm safety.
He also highlighted the blinding fear instilled in our campus and society after repeated school shootings.