Most of us were barely in Jr. high, but we remember what happened at Columbine in 1999. We remember the shocked and horrified faces of the high school kids who were caught off guard by the rage of their own peers. We remember the media stating that it was one of the worst homegrown attacks in US history. Somehow, that same terror has followed our generation to college. The recent college shootings among US schools are growing at an alarming rate. With these statistics, many of our own students here at Grambling question the readiness of the University in the mist of a catastrophe.
What if it does happen to us? What if Grambling were forced to take precaution from an active shooter?
“We’d be done for it,” explains sophomore Wayneisha Davison, “As black people, we would try our best to get out and survive, but the police department can’t even handle the small stuff let alone something big like that.”
Another student agrees by stating, “They’re stuck on parking tickets and loud music, definitely not prepared for any major situations.”
With all this into consideration, the University recently initiated the production of the First call Interactive Network. This is an emergency system designed to alert students and employees in 2-3 minutes to over 4000 numbers via text, voice, and email in case of an actual emergency. Officials believe that this system has already proved to be very effective due to its use of current technology.
Not only has the notification of the new alert system, Chief Walker ensured that the University Police would be able to take matters into their own hands in case of a life-threatening emergency.
“We’re low profile,” explains Walker, “Even though the students don’t see the equipment, that doesn’t mean we aren’t ready.”
Chief Walker later begins to touch on the issues that seem to be the main factor in the doubt of the students.
“We need to do a better job with communicating to students to build a relationship. Students don’t trust the police and it leads to insecurities.”
Walker claims that the understaffed department has officers that have been trained in the response of an active shooter on campus. Despite the opinion and views of most students on the University Police, when it comes down to it, they’ll be our only hope.
What are the possibilities of an active shooter on our campus? Many believe that it is unlikely at an HBCU although there have been cases that evolved black victims including the Louisiana Technical College in Baton Rouge.
“Yes, it could happen,” says freshman David Lankster. “I think there are issues between students, but they wouldn’t open fire for no reason.”
Although there have been no reported cases of a black shooter a Historically Black College, it is always a possibility. The shooters seem to all have one very common characteristic about themselves that does not rule out color: depression. Depression can be found on college campuses easily, and even though rarely seen, it lurks here at Grambling as well.