Police and Safety officers can be armed, but that won’t guarantee students’ safety. When the Board of Trustees meets on May 31, it shall be no surprise to the students if they decide to let Police and Safety carry firearms. Mercyhurst will be one of the many other American universities following this trend. After the shootings at Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University and Sandy Hook Elementary School, schools and universities across the country have taken measures to prevent such tragedies from ever happening again.
These actions mirror the growing insecurities felt by American universities. Take Mercyhurst for example. Last September, a mentally disturbed man committed suicide by the Mary fountain. That isn’t so scary if you think about it, but what really scares us is the “what if.” What if he would’ve gotten into the buildings? What if his intentions were to attack the students?
As terrifying as this thought can be, we can’t deny the fact that something like this actually happening is highly unlikely. However, I prefer the school have a Police and Safety that is prepared to handle anything, than one who lacks something. With that said, I think that arming Police and Safety will not guarantee 100 percent security for the students.
Mercyhurst University is an open campus that permits anyone to walk in and out of the facilities with no prior check-in. Anyone can walk into the buildings and blend with the students without being targeted. Just because our officers are armed, doesn’t mean that they’ll respond rapidly and effectively to an attack happening at any corner of the university.Think of the man that came in last September. No one stopped him at the gate, no one knew his intentions and no one patted him down to check if he had a fire-arm. By the time police realized what was going on, a rifle had already gone off.
Now imagine if someone with more nefarious intentions came in. Officers could not check if that person had a firearm or stop that person from even being here. The nature of our open campus simply doesn’t allow complete safety.I say let Police and Safety be armed, but let us not fall into the delusion that nothing bad can happen just because some of our officers carry firearms.