Security and Lockdowns

This post is definitely different than anything I’ve done so far, but it has been on my mind all week and needs to be shared. This post might be “controversial” because not everyone probably agrees with me. I am not wishing to offend anyone, and I apologize if that happens.

Last Wednesday, campus got interesting.There was a Holocaust survivor who was speaking on campus that day at 3 and I was planning on attending. However, since my last class ends at noon, I had some time to kill. So I was sitting at my desk (much like I am whenever I do anything on my laptop) doing homework when I get an email around 2:10. It was nothing out of the ordinary, so I clicked on it and it was an alert email, saying “Shelter in place. Possible armed suspect on campus.” That was all it said. Obviously, I had no idea where on campus, so I did not do anything. Almost immediately after, I got the emergency text saying practically the same thing. Again, no other details were provided so I felt no need to freak out. After all, Ball State has a huge campus. This suspect could be anywhere. Well, a few minutes later, the overhead alarms start blaring in my dorm. “Attention! There is an armed assailant in or near the building. Close and secure all doors. Turn off area lights…” The door to my room, like all main doors in this building, are too heavy to stay open on their own. When I am in my room, I prefer having the door open. It feels less like a dorm room and I do not feel as cramped with it open. So when the alarm went off, I sighed, got up, moved the trash can (our doorstop) away from the door so that the door closed, turned the light off, locked the door from the inside (it was already locked from the outside), closed the shades, and sat back down. I ended up turning off my desk lamp as well, along with dimming the brightness and volume on my laptop. I continued working. I felt that there was no real threat to me. The main thing I was concerned about was that we would be under lockdown for a while, and I would miss the talk at 3. Nevertheless, we got the all-clear about 2:35.

I found out shortly thereafter that it was a false alarm. Like a lot of campuses across the country, the “suspect” was involved in a game of Humans vs. Zombies. This guy was carrying a Nerf gun. However, he had painted it to look pretty real, except for the orange tip. To me, it looked more like an airsoft gun, but those things still hurt pretty bad if you get hit with one (I speak from experience). He was also wearing a vest that appeared to be a bulletproof vest, but I think was actually just a vest that holds more ammo cartridges. (For picture Click here )

Obviously there was no real threat to this lockdown. However, I’m glad we have protective measures in place for if there is a real threat. I am grateful that the police were quick to respond to the situation. Although it has become somewhat of a joke in the course of the week, I still appreciate those first responders who went and talked to the guy.

I know in America recently, tensions have been higher than ever between the police and civilians. It breaks my heart every time I hear a police officer has been shot AND/OR civilians are killed. Being a police officer is quickly becoming one of the most dangerous occupations in the entire country. However, I ask you a question: where would we be without police officers?

When I was in that car accident a year and almost two months ago, I was more or less grateful for the police officers, especially the first one that showed up. If my memory serves me right, she was not even on call that night. She was attending one of her children’s sporting events (probably a basketball game) and had another child with her. However, she sacrificed her night off and came to the aid of two teenage girls. Since it was February, the night was chilly, and so this officer offered for us to sit in her squad car with her daughter to stay warm.

I say more or less because I was not so grateful when I found out the accident was reported as my fault. However, I was still grateful to have an officer like that. I know not everyone likes cops. I mean, even if I am doing nothing wrong while driving, I still get nervous if a cop car is behind me, especially if it comes up fast. However, I am still grateful for all the work they do in my community and in cities across America. As I mentioned earlier, it breaks my heart every time the news reports that there’s a shooting involving the police. I have watched a decent amount of coverage of these types of events. Probably about 7 times out of 10, the police are acting in self-defense, rather than being the perpetrators. Yet the media chooses to take the side of the civilian, often calling him or her “a martyr.” I’m sorry, but no. Webster’s dictionary defines the word martyr as, “1: a person who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce a religion 2: a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle 3:  victim; especially :  a great or constant sufferer”. I do not think those killed fit this description. An article I read to prepare for this states, “Police officers may legitimately employ deadly force when someone poses a clear and imminent danger to citizens or officers, but many fatal police shootings involve reasonable questions about whether this standard was met.” It goes on to say “Whether real or imagined, threats perceived by an officer may elicit fear and anger that can trigger a shooting.” I do not wish to take quotes out of context, so here is the entire article. It attributes racism to a lot of the shootings that take place. As much as many people think it is absent, racism still persists in America today. That article was mainly about black civilians that are being shot. And yes, quite a few officers ARE white. However, it has also been black cops against black civilians. What is the racism there?

I am not trying to be on any specific side. However, I do know that nothing happens without a cause. In these instances, the police are not just wandering the area and decide to pull out their gun. They are usually called for a reason. That being said, I think there are alternatives to violence, and violence should only be used as a last resort.

An officer’s main job is to serve and protect the U.S. citizen. I know that it does not always seem that way when they are pulling you over for a speeding ticket. However, imagine if they had not pulled you over, you continued speeding, got distracted, and hit another car hard. Depending on how fast you were going, you might have killed someone. When I got in my accident, even though it was technically my fault, I know that it was not entirely so. I had just started turning, and I was not even going ten miles an hour. She came up so fast that I did not see her at all, and I ended up pulling my face from the airbag once we collided. If it HAD been completely my fault, I was not going fast enough to have my airbag deploy. Now imagine if you were going much faster than to just deploy the airbag. I promise you that $150 (the average for a speeding ticket and court fees) is worth less than someone’s life. I would rather have to pay that money than to have been the cause of someone’s death. So yeah, it may not seem like it all the time, but an officer’s primary job is to serve and protect the community. I’m glad we had officers respond to a false alarm on campus because that showed me that they are willing to step up and do their job for the campus community.

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