Shootings don’t call for unreasonable security

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Shootings don’t call for unreasonable security

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Tuesday April 17, 2007
Section: Editorial Section
Christian Alexandersen, Senior Staff Writer

As I write this column, I, like most people in the world, am in disbelief of the terrible shootings that occurred on the Virginia Tech campus that claimed the lives of at least 33 people.

First and foremost, I want to say that the thoughts and prayers of everyone at West Virginia University go out to everyone affected by the shootings at Virginia Tech. Words cannot begin to describe the pain and sorrow all college students are feeling on the worst day in our college careers.

While this is now the worst public shooting ever to occur in the nation's history, it is the responsibility of college students, faculty and staff everywhere to act responsibly following these tragic events.

Directly after the shooting at Columbine High School in April 1999, schools all over the country began instituting extremely strict policies to deter future acts of violence in American schools. Growing up in the post-Columbine school system, students today remember the heightened security measures that were taken.

Superintendents everywhere were no longer allowing students to carry backpacks around schools or go out for lunch.

While it is impossible to know if those new precautions actually deterred anyone from shooting people in school, one of the most important lessons to take from both the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings is that no matter the security precautions you take, nothing can stop a killer.

It is crucial for WVU as well as all other colleges and universities around the country to act accordingly following the Virginia Tech massacre. However, higher learning institutions should not make unnecessary and costly security upgrades because of an isolated incident at Virginia Tech.

During a press conference, Virginia Tech President Charles Steger said, "(We) can't have an armed guard in front of every classroom." When asked if the campus had enough security to protect their students, Steger said, "It's very difficult because we are an open society and an open campus."

Other than the shooting that occurred at the University of Texas at Austin in 1966, there has not been an event that can compare to the one that occurred on Monday.

Hopefully, school presidents will comprehend that placing metal detectors, instituting increased security or having people rummaging through our belongings is not the answer.

Unfortunately, there are no remedies for tragic events like this.

The only thing universities and colleges can do is take minor precautions to protect their students, faculty and staff. If Sept. 11 has taught us anything, it is that people who want to cause violence will find a way to do it. Wasting thousands or even millions of dollars on security upgrades is not going to solve anything.

I am not saying, however, that precautions should not be taken at all; I am simply saying that adding SWAT teams to patrol campuses is unnecessary. ID scans and similar campus precautions are good ideas and should be considered by all institutions.

Though the shootings at Virginia Tech are tragic and terrible, we have to remember to act sensibly and not rashly. Being prepared for situations like this is important, but we have to remember that this isolated incident is not an excuse to allow college presidents to overreact and start spending money on frivolous security measures.

Once again, I want to say that the thoughts and prayers of every West Virginia University student, faculty and staff member are with the people at Virginia Tech.

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Original Source: The Daily Athenaeum
<a href="http://www.da.wvu.edu/show_article.php?&story_id=27552">http://www.da.wvu.edu/show_article.php?&story_id=27552</a>

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Christian Alexandersen

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2008-02-18

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Kacey Beddoes

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Leann Ray <Leann.Ray@mail.wvu.edu>

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eng

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Christian Alexandersen, "Shootings don’t call for unreasonable security," in The April 16 Archive, Item #1691, http://april16archive.org/items/show/1691 (accessed July 29, 2014).