Recent gun violence calls for an adjustment to our new reality


Photo Courtesy of Max Pixel

In our day and age, being prepared for on-campus shootings is a must.

Mass shooting after mass shooting,t has become a new normal in American society and prayers won’t help  stop them. They can occur anywhere at this point: schools, places of worship, your workplace, concerts and even the grocery store. There isn’t really a way you can be prepared for this type of situation, other than going into flight-or-fight mode.

Although the go-to solution shouldn’t have to be  an active shooter safety action plan for when it happens (because Congress should at least place on ban assault rifles and implement background checks) we do ultimately need one. In the worst-case scenario that CSUSM does have an active shooter on campus, students, faculty and staff alike should know what to do. It has become our new reality.

 So many universities and colleges across the country have implemented active shooter training so that, when the unthinkable occurs, students are ready. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Journal, there have been 172 shooting incidents on college campuses since the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 and 15 active shooter incidents at institutions of higher education from 2000 to 2017. With the frequency of active shooter incidents in the nation this year alone, our campus needs to be prepared if it happens.

Even though we may think that the unthinkable may never happen on our campus, ask yourself this: what would you do if you were in that situation? Run? Hide? Fight the shooter and risk getting yourself shot and killed?

If placed in an active shooter situation, many of us would panic in fear when face-to-face with an active shooter. It is tragic to think that this is our new normal, that we must keep the thought in the back of our minds that a mass shooting could happen wherever we are. Having a set of safety rules and procedures to handle this type of situation will reduce, and hopefully eliminate, the chances of the situation becoming even more chaotic than it’s bound to already be at that point. According to the National Fire Protection Association Journal, “numerous factors make protecting campuses and planning for an incident extremely challenging.” One of those factors that the journal mentions, that relevant to CSUSM, is the fact the campus is designed to be open and welcoming. That factor means that now our campus can be a potential target of a mass shooting, especially with it being a public campus.

If not a campus-wide drill training to prepare for an active shooter, our administration should instead create a training module similar to the Title IX training that students must complete annually. This way students know what procedures they should take if and when an active shooter comes onto campus. Making a training program annual will refresh students’ knowledge on active shooter safety and more aware of their surroundings for when the unpredictable becomes reality. Should there also be a drill implemented with this training, the reality of having an active shooter becomes real to students and enhances the training module.

It may be sad to think that our society has come to the point that college campuses like ours have active shooter safety trainings because of the amount of mass shootings in the past couple of years. Until our government comes together and creates legislation that bans assault weapons and places background checks on gun sales, this is our new reality.