Editorial: The effect of gun violence on students

Gun Rally School Walkout (11) Minji Kong /THE REVIEW
On March 14, 2018, students gathered on North Green in front of Memorial Hall to demonstrate as part of the nationwide walkout in support of gun control.

Everyday we wake up, go to class, go to our club meetings, do our assignments and then wake up the next day and do it all over again. However, every now and then something else slips into our heads as an additional cause of stress. What if it happened right now? What would I do? How would I continue on with my life after something like that?

The continuous presence of gun violence on campuses around the country and right here in Newark has caused concern among some students. In the wake of school shootings that we grew up hearing and learning about like Columbine, Newtown and Parkland, students are becoming more and more wary of that reality.

The aspect that worries students the most is the fact that something like this can happen anywhere and at anytime. The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. opened up many people’s eyes to the fact that no one is safe. Even young children are at the risk of being in a school shooting. This idea scared a lot of people, but not much has changed since then.

A lot of high schools in the aftermath of that shooting began to implement more safety measures including increased lockdown drills, more security personnel, one-way windows and more security in general in terms of who can enter the school. However, at the college level, the increased safety measures are far less noticeable.

The university has made efforts that The Review has reported on in relation to school shootings. Some of these efforts include campus safety personnel being present on campus and the blue light system. The University of Delaware Police Department (UDPD) has also sent out informational videos and announcements about what to do in the case of a school shooter. The police department as well as RAs are also trained to handle the situation of a school shooting. Even with these measures in place, students are still subject to a lot of uncertainty and stress about this topic. For example, it is concerning how easily accessible dorms and other campus buildings are.

Because we are a public* university, many campus buildings must be accessible to the public, but our dorms do not. The campus dorms require someone who lives in that building to open the door with their student ID. However, in the spirit of friendliness, many students hold the doors open for the people trying to enter behind them. This makes it so almost anyone can enter one of the student dorms. There is an alarm system that goes off if the doors are open for too long, but most students ignore the blaring noise.

UDPD has sent out multiple alerts since the beginning of the semester about armed robberies. These alerts are left with few follow-ups and leave students with the uncertainty of where the people who were reported as armed and fleeing the scene are. The fact that campus dorms are very easy to get into make students feel less-safe on campus.

Being on a college campus rather than a one-building high school presents challenges like the fact that safety procedures take longer to implement here. Those lockdowns that we experienced in high school are almost impossible to enact on campus. The idea that something can be happening on one side of campus and people on the opposite have no knowledge of it can be very concerning for students.

The university is very integrated with the town of Newark, which is an aspect of this university that many people love. It is a common occurrence to see local residents playing with their children on the Green during a warm spring day. At the same time, the students that go here want to feel safe and secure on the campus as gun violence becomes a continuously increasing issue.

This editorial is written to reflect the majority opinion of The Review staff. This week’s editorial was written by Jessica Leibman, Copy Desk Chief. She may be reached at Leibman@udel.edu.

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    Steve 8 months

    Your use of phrases such as “continuous presence of gun violence on campuses” and “as gun violence becomes a continuously increasing issue” is misleading and helps contribute to the stress and fear that some students may experience. Homicide by firearm (“gun violence”) and by other methods is not increasing in the US and has actually been on a long-term declining trend for the last quarter century. Homicides overall have been declining since a high in 1993 of over 23,000. The year 2014 saw the lowest number of homicides in the US in over 50 years (12,358) and while 2015 and 2016 did see an increase, the numbers have been declining again since then. Mass shootings at schools, such as those you mention, continue to be very rare events. Yes, each one is a horror, but statistically you are twice as likely to be killed by lightning in the US than die in a mass shooting.

    The continual bombardment of the public with false narratives about the “increasing epidemic of gun violence” is a symptom of the issue that too many of us have with the modern media. You cannot have an honest conversation about a subject and work toward real solutions if the media continues to peddle falsehoods. Research on this topic takes just minutes to find out actual facts. Present those facts and then let your readers decide.

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