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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

In response to the arming of Brandeis Police

Published: November 2, 2007
Section: Opinions

Dear Editor,

When I first saw an article in The Hoot agreeing with the decision to give guns to Brandeis Public Safety, I refrained from responding. I figured I was preaching to the choir, as that particular article was only written as a response to a previous one that denounced the decision. But after yet another person praised the decision because it supposedly makes us safer, I couldn't keep quiet about it. The fact is I have never felt more unsafe since guns were distributed to Public Safety [sic].

Now that Brandeis Public Safety has guns [sic], they will be able to thwart anyone who intends to harm us. They can stop bullets, or even explosions in the event of the terrorist attack that Mr. Goldman fears (and really, what could be a better target than a sparsely populated suburban area?). Oh wait, that's an invisible force field, not guns. Sorry, my mistake.

But what about that awful shooting at Virginia Tech? First of all, Virginia Tech cops had guns. Didn't help too much. Second, the first thing the Virginia Tech cops did was call for backup. That's what they're supposed to do. If (God forbid) there was ever such a shooting at Brandeis, Public Safety isn't going to say “lock and load!” and go charging in to save the day. They'll call for Waltham police, or a SWAT team, or someone who's trained to handle such situations.

Arming university police didn't help at Virginia Tech and it wouldn't help here. Know what would've saved a lot of lives? If the shooter couldn't buy a gun in the first place, or if he wasn't in such a bad place mentally that he felt the only way to solve his problems was to start shooting.

Better psychiatric care for students might have made a difference, but the safest solution would be one that keeps lunatics from getting guns. The lesson from the tragedy at Virginia Tech shouldn't be that we all need to live in fear, but that we need better gun control laws. Good thing we're in Massachusetts where those laws already exist. What was the problem again?

But the Brandeis campus is so open! We're very much at risk. Someone could just waltz in and start shooting. Didn't you hear about the tennis masturbator? This was the only remotely valid point in Mr. Goldman's entire article. Yes, the Brandeis campus is open, but I've been here nearly four years and that tennis masturbator is the biggest security breach to occur on campus (or at least it got the most attention). If that's our biggest problem, I'd say we're in pretty good shape.

Look, I understand the point that someone could walk on to campus and do us harm, but are guns really going to stop anyone? Unless Public Safety happens to be standing by, weapons at the ready when such a shooting occurs, they'd be powerless to stop it. Maybe we need a way to regulate who enters campus, like a gate. But wait, people could still walk around the gate. Better put up a wall too. We'll also need metal detectors. So let's see, we've got a gate with a metal detector, walls, and armed guards. Sounds like the ideal college campus, or prison.

The bottom line is that every time I cross the street, even if I look both ways, there's a chance I'll get run down and killed. So I guess that means I shouldn't cross the street. It's the only way to be safe. If Mr. Goldman wants to be completely secure, he should go live in a bunker. I'll take my chances with real life, thanks.

– Brian Rabb '08