Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

Look to future, not past in debate

This week Augustana is discussing the idea of arming our Public Safety officers—and I find it odd that we haven’t discussed this openly before now.
Considering all the hype about concealed carry in Illinois in recent months, it would seem natural that the arming of university and college campus security would have been a hotter issue by now.
Does Augustana need our Public Safety officers to carry guns around campus? Given the lack of situations requiring an armed officer on campus, the answer is, frankly, no.
The decision to arm or not arm campus officers did not, however, arise from any experience in Augustana’s past. We are discussing an armed presence in order to be prepared to respond to an endangering event that could happen in Augustana’s future.
If I’m minding my own business in the Thomas Tredway Library when a mass shooting breaks out on the fourth floor, I believe a remotely-fired weapon is the best defense for Augustana students in that scenario.
Unless hurling coffee mugs and textbooks from behind furniture proves to be a viable defense, an armed officer arriving on the scene would quickly become our best—and maybe only—method of neutralizing the shooter.
The last thing I want is Augustana to see that we need an armed presence only after a situation like that occurs.
If we react only to what has happened in the past, we are ignoring the needs of Augustana students in the future and are allowing the potential for a deadly event to slip into our history.
The Observer Editorial Board was unable to reach a consensus on the topic of Augustana College arming our public safety officers. This article is one of three perspectives the editorial board is presenting on this issue. Find the other two articles here and here, and weigh in on the debate in the comments.

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Look to future, not past in debate