A Not-so-Natural Disaster

By Jen Fine, Regular ContributorOctober 29, 2015


image via libertynewsnow.com

A few days ago the university I attend sent out an email regarding what to do in the event of a mass shooting on our campus. I was shocked that this hadn’t come sooner, but understood that, just a few days after the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, the administration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison must have deemed this event to be the one that broke the camel’s back.

While I appreciate the fact that those who hold positions of authority on campus are finally reaching out and breaking their silence, I still find it hard not to reject the idea that this is something society needs to be warned about.

The email came with an attachment of two videos. One depicted a scenario where a gunman actually came to our specific campus and targeted students in school buildings that my friends and I sit in every day. Not only did this video inform the student body of what to do in the event that an armed individual begins attacking our campus, but it informed us of the scary truth: that this is not something that we can say is one in a million. The threat is no longer out there for just others. This has  become a very serious danger that almost every American faces when they choose to leave their homes.

In the public schools that I attended as a child, every so often we would be subject to drills that resembled fake emergencies in order to prepare us for a fire, a hurricane, an earthquake, etc. Although we did participate in fake lockdowns, they were geared toward the idea that a robber would be inside of the school or an unknown individual whose reason for being within our wall was yet to be determined. Never once, as I sat as a 2nd grader with my body under my desk and the lights off, did I think that these situations would become a reality, or worse, that these intruders would come into the vicinity with no motivation other than to kill.

Today, colleges need to send out mock videos that teach the student population how to handle the very real threat that is being confronted with a gunman with one mission– to shoot.

Today, education, the one thing that has always been valued most among so many families, has become tarnished by the fear and anxiety that our lives could be taken for simply going to class and getting a degree.

Today, I am not as proud to be an American as I once was, realizing that policy makers would rather put my life on the line than at least try to come up with a solution that would reduce the likelihood of this all too abundant risk.

Today, we must add yet another drill to the already long list of one’s that students are inconvenienced with when they should be learning and growing and maturing. Today, we are preparing. And by preparing, we are expecting. And by expecting, we are proving that we can no longer fight back; that we have accepted this as commonplace; that this is our new tornado, our new natural disaster. When in fact, there is nothing natural about it.

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Do you think campuses should have drills depicting the entrance of a gunman? How do you think we could inform students of the dangers more effectively? Tell us below!

About Jen

JENNIFER_FINE_writer_bio.jpgJen is currently a junior majoring in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She enjoys all things sarcastic, obsessing over the New York Rangers, and is a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee fanatic. When she’s not singing in the shower, writing her feelings, or dishing out life advice to her friends, you can catch her lying around watching One Tree Hill for the third time. Feel free to check out her personal blog at jenfine.wordpress.com for more!


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