Shortly after the shootings at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, a man was reported wielding a handgun at the Community College of Philadelphia, prompting local police to dispatch SWAT teams and to lockdown students and staff for hours. Sadly, ever since the deadly slaughter that occurred at Virginia Tech in 2007, it appears mass shootings at colleges are becoming as commonplace as winter snowstorms.
Following such rampages, many colleges have bolstered their security measures in an attempt to curb such catastrophes on their own campuses. According to the New York Times, nearly two-thirds of four-year colleges and universities with enrollments of over 2,500 students have established a force of armed officers on campus. In addition to the physical presence of law enforcement, communications systems have been improved to allow for greater communication between police, students and faculty and locking mechanisms have been added to dormitory and classroom building doors.
Ultimately, such measures appear to be treating the symptoms of gun violence at college campuses, hoping to contain the amplitude of massacre. While the causes of an individual acting out and murdering his or her fellow peers and faculty are diverse, there should be a greater emphasis on treating these root causes in order to curb such senseless brutality from being carried out in the first place.
Such measures could include a greater presence of and funding for student health services on campus to offer consolation and to limit the stigma of such services. There should also be far more stringent gun control to limit the amount of firearms able to make onto a college campus.
Others have a different stance on gun regulation. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, some states see the recent rise in school shootings as a signal to relax the standards of firearms on campuses, allowing for a greater number of concealed weapons.
The likely idea behind this rationale is that more guns will allow students to better be able to defend themselves against an attacker and that the greater number of armed students will be a deterrent in itself. This is an idealistic vision of security, however. Just because there are more guns does not mean their owners will use them effectively.
According to Time, a 2008 RAND Corporation study showed the weapon accuracy of officers under fire to be only 18 percent while the accuracy without return fire was only 30 percent. These are the stats of highly trained professionals; it’s difficult to imagine the average college student performing any better.