Ten dead, 7 injured. Thirty- three dead, 23 injured. Six dead, 21 injured. Between 2013 and 2015, there were at least 160 school shootings, 76 of which took place at a college or university. School shootings are a reality – a reality that Concordia College doesn’t appear to want to face. What you and the administration are probably thinking is something along the lines of, “It could never happen here.” But, this simply isn’t true. The Midwest has been subject to 18 school shootings in the last ten years – one of which took place in Minnesota. Maybe we think that being in Minnesota makes us immune to violence and danger. Maybe we don’t dare shake the confidence of our fellow Happy Cobbers by addressing the harsh truth that is American society. Maybe we’re just plain ignorant. These mindsets may do a great job of ignoring any possible problems, but they fail to do anything to promote safety. We hope a shooting never happens here. But, what if it does? Safety should be a top priority for any college campus, and yet here at Concordia, I have only had one professor mention the protocol for a threat in the building.
As of right now, no one at Concordia has the responsibility of arming students with the knowledge of what to do if there is an active shooter on campus. Concordia students, do you know about the “red key” that your professors carry? Do you know what to do if you hear gunshots? Has anyone given you a plan for your specific classrooms? Unless your experience has been far different from mine, I’m assuming the answer to all these questions is, “No.” That’s unacceptable, but it’s certainly not your fault.
So, what should we do? Administration, I am looking directly at you. For one thing, we need to somehow make sure that every single student and employee on this campus knows the basics of what to do in the event of a shooting. We also need to have experts come to this campus to devise the best plan of action for specific buildings, and even for specific rooms. And, we need to add these plans to every course syllabus. No one can ever truly be ready for something as horrific as an active shooter, but we should be making our best effort to be somewhat prepared.
Thankfully, Concordia does have a protocol for when there is a “Hostile Intruder” inside a building:
When an intruder in a campus building is posing a threat of or causing deadly harm, seek cover immediately and call Emergency Dispatch (911) and Security/Public Safety (3123).
1. Do not pull the fire alarms to evacuate the building. People attempting to evacuate may be put in harm’s way.
2. Look for all available exits if it becomes necessary to flee.
3. Go into a classroom, residence hall room or office and lock the door.
4. Stay low, away from windows, and barricade the doors if possible. 5. Students and college employ- ees should not attempt to leave the building until told to do so by security or police personnel — unless it is clear that you are in more danger by staying in the building.
This is all great information. The only problem is, before Googling “Concordia College active shooter protocol,” I didn’t know any of this.
It’s a sensitive subject. The conversations will be awkward. Avoiding an uncomfortable conversation is not worth tragedy. I hope that the conversations are unnecessary. I pray that the administration addresses these concerns and that it turns out to be the most useless thing they have ever done. But, there’s no way to guarantee that this will be the case, which is exactly why something needs to be done.
Zero dead, zero injured. How can we not do everything in our power to ensure that is our narrative?
And with that, I leave your corn buttered.
Emma Garton (’19) is a senior studying Communications and Spanish. She is the Editor-in-Chief of The Concordian this year. In addition to working for the paper, Emma works in Concordia’s IT department, interns at Absolute Marketing Group in Fargo, ND, and plays trumpet in the Concordia Band.