The policy responses have already placed a heavy burden on K-12 students and instructors across the country. Schools are implementing strategies anywhere from encouraging teachers to confront assailants to having students bring canned foods to school so that they can hurl them at a shooter.
UNC’s “Run, Hide, Fight/Defend” policy reflects the mentality that we should just accept, as students and faculty, that we are at risk for an act of mass violence and always “have an escape route in mind.”
We have seen plenty of bloodshed with little justice to speak of for the deaths of those who were simply in the wrong place, at the wrong time, on the wrong end of a barrel. Every time this happens, and there is nothing done, we become more complicit and more afraid.
Frankly, it’s terrifying. No student should have to worry about whether they can run in the shoes that they wear to class or keep their head on a swivel at sporting events. No professor should have to be on their toes while lecturing, with a plan of action in their back pocket. We’re here to learn, to grow and to be the leaders of our generation.
We all hope that we will never see the day that anyone on this campus is a victim of senseless violence; some of us will pray on it, others will write letters to representatives and some of us will simply keep hoping. But as well-informed college students, most of us know that 290 people have been killed and 1121 wounded in 271 mass shootings in 2019 alone.
Just this past May we had a group of armed, Confederate demonstrators walk onto our campus (a felony), shake hands with law enforcement and leave without penalty. Furthermore, UNC students have received death threats from those very same people who have brought weapons onto our campus.
One man threatened that he was “ready to kill” for what he believes. In response, we feel inclined to pose the question — what are we willing to do to ensure the safety of our community?
We know that the necessary policy action is largely out of the hands of anyone on this campus. But we must ask ourselves what we can do, as members of a premier academic institution, to put pressure on the necessary stakeholders and make this campus safer for the Tar Heels who will come after us.