Would the college be prepared for a shooting?

Columnist shares views on how Franklin would respond to a shooter on campus

In a society where waking up to the latest mass shooting is less surprising than an overnight change in the weather, it forces conversation on the possibility that anyone could be caught in the crosshairs of the next deadly attack.

Since the Sandy Hook mass shooting in 2012, there have been more than 150 mass shootings and acts of violence at schools and on college campuses, according to gunviolencearchive.org, a nonprofit dedicated to providing free, online and public access to gun-related violence data.

This raises a powerful and often fear-inducing question: Could this happen at Franklin College?

While the probability of a shooting occurring at Franklin is impossible to calculate due to the changing and unpredictable factors involved, the open nature of a college campus is, without a doubt, a risk.

Director of Security Steve Leonard said several years ago the college moved away from a checklist of items to follow for a mass shooting and adopted the procedure of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“First and foremost, we involve local law enforcement with whom we foster a close relationship,” Leonard said. “Campus security guards are not sworn law enforcement and do not carry rearms, so we are not equipped to handle a mass shooting without local law enforcement.”

Leonard said students should be vigilant and have a plan in place for any major event, not just shootings.

As a campus with inherent vulnerabilities, students are always at risk, and the possibility of a shooting is forever present.

“A mass shooting here on campus is definitely possible,” junior Alexis Varvel said. “I personally wouldn’t expect one, but no one really plans for those things.”

Despite the fact shootings have become a regular occurrence, we continue to have a false sense of security that something like the Vegas shooting or the Virginia Tech massacre would never take place on our campus.

While our campus security would do everything possible to stop an act like this from happening, it is of utmost importance that students remain alert and be prepared for any possibility. This preparedness could eventually save a life.

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About Thomas Maxwell 4 Articles

Thomas Maxwell is a photographer for The Franklin News. He is majoring in French and minoring in Spanish. He is passionate about the French language and literature, as well as fine art photography with a particular interest in images that tell a story. He has spent a year abroad in the South of France as well as a summer in the South of Spain, immersing himself in all things French and Spanish. He runs a small photography business specializing in everything from landscapes to weddings. When he is not working or studying, he enjoys a quiet night in with a glass of wine and a good book or Netflix.

This is Thomas’ first year on The Franklin staff.

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