A call to disarm

By Lizzie Kirshenbaum

Contributing Writer

Gun control is a major issue that has divided liberals and conservatives for years. As the world we live in becomes increasingly threatening, the desire to arm authorities becomes progressively more justifiable. When generations before us say “things were different when I was younger,” the classic example cited is the inability for people today to walk safely in their neighborhood.

But students at the University live in a microcosm of this world. Our campus may be without gates and relatively open to the public, but that is not to say we are unprotected. At any hour of the day, Public Safety cars are patrolling campus. On the weekends in particular, when the night becomes rowdier, the presence of Public Safety and the Lewisburg Police Department becomes even more apparent.

This week in New York City a 24-year-old man, Emmanuel Paulino was shot and killed by the police. Paulino had threatened the police with his knife and the police say they acted in self-defense. Several witnesses later attested to the fact that this man’s knife was barely capable of causing serious harm. Had the police not been armed with guns, perhaps such an extreme reaction could have been avoided.

While New York City police face many serious crimes, which justify their carrying of arms, Public Safety does not. In examining recent Public Safety logs in The Bucknellian, the majority of infringements concern illegal alcohol and drug use, which hardly warrant the use of arms. While one may argue that an intoxicated individual poses a potential threat to the campus community, in most situations the officers of Public Safety have the knowledge and training to deal with these people with minimal physical contact.

The recent homicide at Seton Hall University struck college students over the country with trepidation. Perhaps the key point to this unfortunate incident is that the shooting occurred at an off-campus party. Seton Hall’s Public Safety department was not held accountable for intervening at this party; instead, it was the responsibility of the local police to respond.

The University’s Public Safety department takes preemptive steps to minimize the presence of dangerous weapons on campus. Although one can never be confident that these rules are being followed, students’ criminal records demonstrate negligible physical hostility. Perhaps the better question is not whether or not Public Safety officers should carry guns, but rather what type of weaponry Public Safety officers should be equipped with in case of emergency.

(Visited 43 times, 1 visits today)