By Hannah Bleau | firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ll never forget the chaos that erupted in my COM 251 class at the beginning of this semester. A girl walked in late and caused a huge scene, telling the teacher off and throwing a trashcan out the classroom door.
Apparently, it was all staged to set us up to write a news story, but we didn’t know that at the time. This girl returned five minutes later and my first thought was that she left to get a gun. I honestly think it was a ridiculous idea, especially after all the recent school shootings erupting in America. But it got me thinking. What if it was real? What if she had a gun? We would all be dead meat, that’s what.
I remember my Convocation ceremony like it was yesterday. I was both nervous and excited, until the head of the security department went up to speak. I remember him telling us that we weren’t allowed to carry any kind of weapons because it was their job to secure the campus. He then proceeded to say that the security team carried no weapons, either. What’s the point in that then? I then looked up the policy in the Flagler Catalog, and it said:
“The possession or use of firearms, parts of a firearm or weapon, fireworks of any description, explosive devices, or any dangerous weapon is prohibited on College premises or at any College-sponsored function. Dangerous weapons shall include, but not be limited to: firearms of any description, swords, dirks, knives, brass knuckles, blackjacks or any other instrument deemed to be a weapon, (including toy guns and weapons).”
Flagler College’s weapon policy makes no sense to me. First of all, we’re in the middle of downtown St. Augustine. There are constantly tourists walking in, off and through our campus to gawk. There is no form of real security. Any random person could easily walk into any of our classrooms with a lethal weapon and we would all be defenseless. Security carries no weapons — not even simple pepper spray or a taser.
But Flagler College isn’t the only institution with this type of policy. Many colleges are considered “gun free zones,” but ironically, criminals never get the memo.
To add to the horror, most colleges have pretty lousy parking situations. Most spots are extremely far away from the main buildings. For my own safety, shouldn’t I be allowed to carry at least a taser and baton for the long walks to my car?
As a girl, I naturally don’t feel as safe when I don’t have my scary looking dad with me, but let’s face it. I can’t walk around with my father strapped to my hip. Colleges’ weapons policies almost disregard the fact that girls have to walk to their cars far away, all while being relatively defenseless. In fact, one out of every four women attending college will be a victim of sexual assault, according to research by the New York Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
I believe that anyone with a concealed weapons permit should have the freedom to bring it. I know a lot of people may disagree with me on that, but how would you feel if you had one? In the shadow of all the recent school shootings, personal protection is fresh on our minds. Professors should also have the option of concealed carry if they so choose. That would make me feel safer. What would you rather do in a time of danger? Helplessly wait for the security guards to show up to save you, or have your trained professor with a firearm defending the class with other responsible concealed carry holders?
As for me, I’m underage. I can’t legally carry a firearm on me for another year, one month, 20 days, three hours … but that’s beside the point. For now, I should be permitted to slip on my brass knuckles to walk to my car after class. I should be allowed to carry a taser safely in my purse. I should be allowed to carry a baton in my backpack next to my textbooks and cereal bar. It’s really not asking too much.
As much as I’d like to pretend that the world is a safe, happy and peace-loving place, it’s not. It is not the utopia many people believe it’s evolved to be. The reality is, there are scary, twisted people out there who don’t value human life.
My concerns can’t simply be written off as paranoia. This stuff is really happening in all types of school campuses. (Virginia Tech, 32 killed, 17 wounded; Columbine High School, 12 killed, 21 wounded; Sandy Hook Elementary, 26 killed.) I’m sick of fearing for my safety at school, whether in the classroom or walking to my car. I’m not a crazy person. I just want to have the ability to protect myself, and I don’t have time to take krav maga.