Creating a safer campus before tragedy strikes

Matt Anderson

When someone goes to school, particularly college, it’s their intention to learn new things, meet new people and to possibly discover themselves. Never should they feel like they have to look over their shoulders.

Yet since the beginning of October, there have been three campus shootings that have taken place in the United States. The looking-over-the-shoulder thing is starting to become a must.Hornet Opinion Filler

On Oct. 1, there was a shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon which yielded nine fatalities and another nine were hospitalized. On Oct. 9, two more shootings occurred, the first at Northern Arizona University, where there was one death and three more wounded, then later at Texas Southern University where one person died and another was injured.

President Barack Obama said in a statement regarding the Umpqua shooting, “thoughts and prayers [do] not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel, and it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted some place else in America next week or a couple months from now.”

This statement was made following the UCC shooting in Oregon. Just over a week later the next two shootings occurred. The president couldn’t even make a statement without saying that it’s not a matter of if another tragedy will take place, but when.

While these tragedies can never be predicted, they can be prevented and planned for.

At Fullerton College, odds are you’ve seen campus safety roaming around in their vehicles or strolling around the campus. It’s also hard not to notice the police vehicles right next to the parking structure. So there is a presence on campus to prevent anything dangerous from occurring or to help you in any time of need.

Through the FC website, you can find the Campus Safety section where there are a handful of different situations that can occur and offer you tips on how to deal with them. Some of the situations included are earthquakes, bomb threats, fires and even active shooters.

Although these tips are there for the students, how many actually know what to do and is it enough?

In times of emergency, things happen a lot faster than anyone may realize. You’re not going to have time to search the website, find campus safety, bring up these guidelines and then execute what they tell you. People become frantic when they don’t know what to do.

That is why you plan and prepare, because you’ll never know when something will come in handy for you.

Now, what can we do differently?

In the past, FC has had drills to prepare for events such as these. It’s smart in theory, but for students who go to school on a Monday/Wednesday schedule, having an active shooter drill on a Thursday doesn’t do them much good.

According to the campus safety webpage, in times of emergency there will be notifications sent to students. These notifications are only sent if you “opt-in” to them through MyGateway, whereas at other schools and universities you must “opt-out” of such messages making it more likely for their students to receive them.

These changes might be small, but they could make a difference.

If you’re a student wandering around campus, be aware of your surroundings. Know where the exits are to your buildings. Before getting lost in your headphones or conversations, take a quick glance at what’s around you. Knowing the tiniest of details can help you avoid the worst of situations.

There isn’t a need to feel scared or worried about going to school and living out your day-to-day, but a little preparation for the worst can help you hope for the best.