Shooting Threat: How Safe Are We?
April 6, 2018
The recent trend in shootings and shooting threats in schools, following the Parkland shooting, has hit too close to home with the recent shooting threat at STPA last month and yesterday evening. Undoubtedly, this threat has made a pressing national issue much more personal since our very lives are now at stake. Various measures were taken in order to ensure the safety of all of us. However, a question that arises is, whether or not these measures were actually effective in preventing this threat from becoming a grim reality. Although some of the measures such as the restriction of backpacks would not have done much to deter a shooter, other measures such as the employment of armed security would heavily discourage any attack on our campus, thus contributing to our safety.
Although the implementation of backpack restrictions may seem like a reasonable measure to prevent a shooting, the reality is that this is not necessarily the case. Granted, backpacks could contribute to a shooter’s assault by allowing him/her to carry larger weapons and more ammunition. However, this is not at all necessary in order for an assailant to carry out a devastating attack. In fact, the majority of mass shootings are conducted using semi-automatic handguns, accounting for about 66% of mass shootings. Therefore, it is evident that the weapon of choice for mass shooters is typically a handgun, which happened to be the case in the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting where a gunman used two semi-automatic handguns to massacre 32 people. Restricting backpacks would not prevent a shooter from using these types of weapons due to the fact that their size heavily contributes to their concealability. Handguns can be easily concealed on one’s person, thus making backpacks unnecessary to carry out an attack. Therefore, it is evident that restricting students from bringing backpacks to campus in reality did nothing more but prove to be a minor inconvenience for the student body.
In contrast to the restriction of backpacks, the implementation of armed security guards is a highly effective strategy in deterring a mass shooter. Its common sense that a shooter would be much less inclined to attack a target if it was guarded by armed security due to the threat of being shot before he/she can do any major damage. This is why the majority of mass shootings occur in “gun-free zones” where no firearms are allowed under any circumstances, thus making them so-called “soft targets.” Therefore, it seems sensible to protect our schools with armed security, especially since other important institutions such as banks and government buildings are also protected by armed security. Our schools are just as important if not more important than these other institutions, so they should be offered the same type of armed protection in order to keep students safe and allow them to learn in a relatively comfortable environment.