Students becoming numb to Campus Mass Shootings
Anisa Jibrell – News Writer
One after the other, the upsurge of campus shootings continues to raise safety concerns and occupy policy-making agendas.
As presidential candidates seize the moment following the recent Oregon shooting to tackle gun control, one thing is evident to students like freshman chemistry major, Wesley Abraham: Americans are becoming more and more desensitized to mass murder.
“I feel like we’ve grown very numb to it,” said Abraham. “When I heard about the last school shooting, I honestly went to sleep the same exact way as the night before, it didn’t really bother me.”
“At first it freaked me out in high school, and now, in college I feel like it hasn’t phased me. It’s just one of those things,” said Ashley Michie, a freshman psychology major.
318 mass shootings have occurred in the United States in 2015 alone, according to the mass shooting tracker, ShootingTracker.com, which defines a mass shooting as “two or more murders committed by an offender or offenders, without a cooling-off period.”
Abraham said social media is partially to blame, a place where he said people tend to poke fun at mass shootings.
“You see jokes like ‘Oh! Stop playing with Jimmy he’s going to come back tomorrow and shoot up the school.’ It’s sad really,” said Abraham.
Some of the layers of communication the university has in place in the event that there is an active shooter on campus are the siren public address system and Southern Alert—a mass notification system that students can sign up to received text messages from—according to Chief Joseph Dooley.
“We work extensively with public affairs to get the web site up to get some information and sometimes this information doesn’t come quick. It takes a while to compile it and it may be hours before we can make a determination that the area is safe,” said Dooley.
Dooley advises students to be patient and to remain in lockdown until receiving word from for campus police.
“Often times, they start lockdown and then all of a sudden someone reads on social media that it’s okay to go out now. We’ll tell people to rely on the commands from us, not from what they’ve heard,” said Dooley.
The recent spike in campus shootings has raised triggered a push for campus-carry laws in colleges across the nations. Dooley said allowing college students to carry guns would be a confusing situation.
“If we’re responding to an incident with someone with a gun, it could be very confusing for someone that maybe wants to help but actually could be considered a threat by our agency,” said Dooley. “So it is not something that I think is needed nor would be helpful to the situation.”
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), eight states now have provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on public postsecondary campuses. These states are Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.
In the state of Connecticut, there is not statute that prohibits carrying guns on campus, but the decision to ban or allow concealed carry weapons on campuses is made by each college or university individually.
“All these students are stressed everyday, the last thing we need is a violent weapon,” said Abraham. “If nobody has a gun then nobody needs to protect themselves from anybody.”