Grace College: Common Sense Protection
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Recently, a petition was generated by well-meaning students at Grace College to permit the authorized possession of a "concealed weapon (both lethal, ex. pistol, revolver; and less-lethal, ex. pepper spray, stun weapons) for self-defense" on the college campus. They have proceeded, in their petition, to give evidence which provides a reasonable case for students and faculty to carry concealed weapons on Grace College campus. In response, this petition was drafted so as to combat this proposition by pointing out the holes in its argument and, as well, propose an alternative route to preserve the by and large safe learning environment which is Grace College and the Winona Lake - Warsaw area.
Firstly, an article from the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin was used for a supporting argument but, however, the creators of the concealed carry petition have failed to properly inform their audience. While the report does state that K-12 and Higher Education institutions are the second most common location of an active shooter after the business workplace, it was not noted that in 51 incidence where there was an active shooter, only three incidences were stopped by the shooting of the active shooter before police arrived. More commonly, the shooter killed them self (29 occurrences) or were subdued without being shot (14 occurrences), before police (individual officers or teams) arrived on location.
Additionally, it should be taken into consideration that while the petition writers never argued their position directly from this source, the FBI bulletin suggests civilians should use the "run, hide, fight" response technique for active shooter incidences. There is no mention of civilian concealed carry nor firearm response under the subheading "Civilians Trained to React." Furthermore, the bulletin itself is limited in its scope as only "42 agencies (50 percent) supplied the requested information" regarding the bulletin's inquiry into 84 events between 2000 and 2012 (described as "one or more persons engaged in killing or attempting to kill multiple people in an area occupied by multiple unrelated individuals- at least one of the victims must be unrelated to the shooter"). When considering data concerning a matter such as allowing concealed carry on a college campus adjacent to an elementary school and two medium-sized churches, it is critical to consider the reliability and methodology of the sources given.
While the second article presented does raise good counterpoints to a study published last year, there is a lack of supporting evidence there-within for changing a system (the gun-free campus system currently observed by Grace) that has worked so well as to prevent the gross majority of active shooter incidences on college campuses. Lacking in the petition published recently is an acknowledgement of a firearm store less than two miles from not only the private college campus and dormitories but also, as stated previously, a public elementary school. Bringing more weapons into such a delicate environment outside of trained, trustworthy and capable police officers should present a mountain of convincing, supporting evidence. A more convincing publication from the FBI lists specific data about Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) while having a more reliable methodology, providing a generally more reliable picture for the discussion.
Beyond a doubt it is necessary also to refute a claim by the authors of the pro-concealed carry petition that the introduction of concealed carry policies “have been a non-issue.” Directly following this quote from an article linked in the petition, one should note the report of “thousands of students” strapping phallic-shaped instruments to their backpacks in protest of this “affect on free speech.” Continuing on, there are numerous news reports of how the matter of arming campuses incites debates about the matter- hardly a non-issue.
This leads to the presentation of a call for common sense reform for protection on campus, in the following manners:
- Respect for the decision the campus leadership has followed thus far in prohibiting the possession of firearms and weapons on the college campus.
- Implement a policy allowing for non-lethal weapons (such as pepper spray in canisters less than 5 oz.) to be carried by students and staff for their protection.
- Offer an active shooter preparedness course and/or campus wide regular drills, so as to prepare the campus to respond best in the worst of times.
- Sustain advertisement of the campus wide safety alert system (currently sent out to users through a text messaging system) and upkeep of the campus safety stations (known for their blue lights and public assistance telephone).
- Provide support and aid on the part of “at-risk” students (due to stress, relational troubles, financial difficulties and/or other factors) by student leaders, professors and trained counselors through support groups, programs aimed at stress-relief and counseling services (both financial and relational-emotional-social).
- Permit campus safety officers to work closely with law enforcement concerning the possibility of arming certain campus safety officers.
- Keep the campus firearm-free save for authorized individuals (police officers and possibly campus safety officers).
Of course, the college has many of these systems in place but there is obviously a number of students concerned about their safety. Thus, it would be more than responsible to ensure an enduring commitment on the part of the campus leadership to the protection of each and every member of Grace College in the manners mentioned above. One way in which the school responded last year was adding visible patrols of Warsaw-Winona Lake police officers on campus in addition to police vehicle patrols supplemented by the regular campus safety vehicle rounds.
If you would like to stand up, proposing a different way to keep our campus safe than bringing in more weapons outside trained, trustworthy police officers- sign this petition.
There is another path to protection and safety than the introduction of guns into our campus society and our immediate surrounding community. This is for all students, staff, faculty and alumni of Grace College and Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana.
This petition will be given to President Dr. Bill Katip and Dean of Students Aaron Crabtree.
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