The events of the Sept. 22 shooting on West Michigan Avenue shook the student body to the core as students and community members talked about the gun shots early Sunday morning. Two people were injured as a gunman opened fire into a fraternity house before the gunman fled the scene, according to the report by the Western Herald. It must have a scary moment to see, especially when students were returning home Sunday morning from a night of partying and spending time with friends.
My question for our student population is this: after last weekend’s events, do you feel safe? It’s a question that many students may not think about when walking to class, but a critical topic to consider when dealing with your own safety.
It is true that WMU has had its share of criminal activity in the past few years. In December 2010,two victims were robbed on the fringes of campus, causing a manhunt for the suspect who eventually was apprehended a few days later. In December 2012 armed robbers held up the 7-Eleven store at the KL Rd location and snatched a purse shortly after. The suspects were eventually arrested a few days later, one of them being a WMU student.
WMU’s policy of firearms is straight forward: absolutely no guns whatsoever. Since 1971 WMU has been a gun-free campus, with the Board of Trustees stating that “No person shall possess on university property any firearms or other dangerous weapons” except for police officers or transfer agents licensed to carry. There are multiple signs posted around the entrances of campus that remind visitors, students and faculty to leave their firearms and weapons home. This also includes items like fixed blade knives, axes, throwing stars and (yes, they listed this as an item) nun-chucks. Mace, normally carried by women for self-defense purposes, is strictly prohibited on campus under this law.
We are fortunate to not have any fatal gun violence on campus, However, the threat is real for an attack. We’ve all heard of the Virginia Tech massacre, where the gunman Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people in 2007. In 2012, James Eagan Holmes opened fire in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater killing 12 people and injuring 70 more. Last December, in Newtown, Connecticut, Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School where he killed 20 elementary students and six adults before it was all over.
These events are forever scared into our memories, and many across this nation have called Congress and the President of the United States to act on gun control and the restriction of many types of firearms and ammunition. On the flip side, gun advocates blame the mental health system in the US and not the guns and the millions of law-abiding citizens who safely practice their second amendment rights.
Whatever your view is on gun control, we all agree that something must be done. As for campus, I ask students to be aware of their surroundings. I urge all of my fellow broncos to be safe and avoid any situation or fight that may seem dangerous and call the authorities. Let’s look out for each other and enjoy our time here as a WMU bronco.