Arming Public Safety deserves more campus-wide discussion

By Erin Moyer, Associate Opinion & Editorial Editor

Hey, here’s something we should talk about: do you think the school should arm Public Safety? Huh, wow, that seems like kind of a big deal. Do you think we ought to give our school’s security force actually serious weapons? Do you feel comfortable with armed officers walking around our campus? Well, do you?

Aside from giving me a grabby lead-in, here’s why I keep asking these questions. This is pretty bold, but bear with me: because we need to answer them. Now, I realize that this (hopefully?) isn’t a new thing to you guys. I know we’ve all been getting the same emails and seeing the same webpages about student forums, and I know we have all had an opportunity to air our grievances and/or greetings about arming Public Safety. And that is great! It’s important we come to these conclusions as a community, and these opportunities to share our opinions are critical. Because if people are going to stroll about the college with loaded guns, I think some discussion might be kind of a good idea.

Here’s my big concern, though: are we actually taking advantage of these opportunities? Are people really going? Are people really talking? Is our campus really engaging in a discussion?

Well, to be honest, I would really have no idea. I’m my own Exhibit A here: I have been to absolutely zero forums. Now, I have an opinion, and a pretty strong one, but I haven’t made the time to share it. That’s my bad, and depending on how things pan out I might really regret it.

But in a way, I don’t need to be there to know about the forum turnout, because I, hopefully like a few other people, have seen front-page of last week’s College Reporter. As an earnest-looking speaker stands at the front of Stahr Auditorium, the first couple of rows are a ghost-town. There are but two lonely souls occupying the seats, and that crowd doesn’t make me super optimistic about the rest of the rows behind them.

And a less-pathetic friend of mine that has actually diligently attended these forums has sort of echoed my general assumptions: he told me the forums have all had strictly moderate attendance. And that doesn’t sound bad, right? But here’s the thing: 100 students at a forum—which might be a generous quantification of “moderate”—might seem pretty great, but 100 attendees out of 2500 potential ones is not such a solid ratio. A solid number of students are getting their voices out there, but most of us still really aren’t.

Now, there is arguably no way every person on this campus would ever turn up for any event ever, and arguably no place on campus where they could even gather if they wanted to, but still. I still think, myself included in this, that we could be doing better. I still think we need to turn up more for this. I still think we need to talk more about this.

Because this really matters, you guys. If we’re about to give our campus police force legitimate firearms, if we’re about to make what could literally prove to be a life or death decision, then shouldn’t we all pull that trigger together?

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