“Last week’s active shooter drill and the San Bernardino school shooting that took place last month has re-ignited the debate about campus police carrying guns,”Amber Lipsey, Managing Editor at Pasadena City College’s pcccourier.com writes. “While the argument is valid, I’m not quite ready to jump on the bandwagon on giving guns to officers on college campuses.”
The argument (posted above her “con” piece) is valid? Cue the heavenly choir! An anti on the fence who who can see sense! Yes, well, not really: “giving guns to campus cops will do more harm than good if those guns are going into the wrong hands.” Uh-oh . . .
It’s no secret that policing has been under fire the past few years due to killings of unarmed black people. These shootings have been going on for a long time, but came to national attention in August 2014 with the shooting of Michael Brown Jr.
More recently, the death of resident Reginald Thomas Jr. at the hands of Pasadena police last November has brought that issue to the forefront of the community. Questions of police training, implicit bias and use of deadly force have been heavily debated from all sides.
Considering all of this, how can we know for sure that our campus police are competent enough to carry guns without harming our students, faculty and staff? What are the odds that one of our officers would end up shooting and killing a student, either by accident, or from excessive force?
Somewhere between none and statistically speaking none? I don’t know. But I reckon Ms. Lipsey is making a bad landing at the wrong airport.
Here’s something that puts the “issue” of armed campus police in its proper perspective, from February of this year: Robbers Ambush at Least 10 People on Pasadena Streets.
“I thought it was a joke, but it wasn’t a joke,” said Esther Prado, who said she was approached from behind and thrown on the ground by the robbers.
Prado said she had a gun pressed to her head and had her phone, passport and other belongings stolen from her.
Zooming in to Pasadena City College itself we find Man Sought in Alleged Rape of Male Pasadena City College Student.
In a locker room in the W-building, no less.
According to the federally mandated Clery crime report for 2013 – 2015, her alma mater was home to five forcible sex offenses, seven robberies, three aggravated assaults, nine burglaries, one arson, and one case of “dating violence.” Those are on-campus reported instances.
I mention these attacks not to point out that PCC students should be “allowed” to exercise their natural, civil and constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms in defense against robbery, rape, assault and murder. Which they should. But I realize that idea would surely make Ms. Lipsey’s head explode.
I bring up these crimes to highlight the fact that the Pasadena City College students — and thus the campus police — have been victimized by some seriously bad people.
And yet Ms. Lipsey opposes armed defense because “All it would take is an officer on a power trip or without proper training and understanding to turn an interaction with a student for a minor offense, into that student leaving in a body bag.”
I understand Ms. Lipsey’s [overblown] fear of armed authority. Being from Rhode Island — where more than a few cops are little more than armed criminals with badges — I have a certain wariness in that regard.
But like most social justice warriors — Ms. Lipsey’s Twitter page proclaims that she’s “Very Black” — the aspiring journalist is letting political correctness get in the way of reason, logic and simple common sense. Like this:
PCC is a campus predominantly made up of Latino, Hispanic and Black students and it’s been proven that police are more likely to use force on Black and brown people at disproportionate rates than any other group.
It’s a fact that school shootings have increased and the safety of students and faculty should absolutely be a priority. However, I have a problem with the idea that the solution is to put guns in the hands of police on a campus with a majority Black and brown population.
I especially have an issue without knowing the full employment and behavioral history of these officers, and whether or not they’ve previously displayed racial or ethnic biases.
I wonder if Ms. Lipsey, the managing editor of a newspaper, made any attempt to ascertain this information, or simply mentions the remote possibility of a rogue cop shooting and killing a student of color to stoke the fires or racial prejudice. Hmmm.
I unequivocally understand the feeling that there is an increased need for more protection on college campuses across the nation. I simply won’t jump on the fear tactics bandwagon that believes putting guns in the hands of a group who has a history of excessive force with those guns is the way to make us safer.
And there you have it. Ms Lipsey understands the “feelings” of those who want their campus police armed. For antis, it’s always all about feelings. To paraphrase the Talking Heads, facts don’t do what she wants them to. So she mangles them to suit her purpose. But not the purpose of student safety.
As for an active shooter on campus, Ms. Lipsey only mentions that possibility in passing. No surprise there, either.