When I started to do my research for this article I was really intrigued by what seemed to be the increase of school college shootings in the United States. Never before had I noticed so many violent crimes being reported on college campuses.
Even more shocking was that so many were so many mass shootings. I mean not that violence is ever acceptable but somehow it’s more understood when it’s personal. When so many people are randomly attacking school mates it makes a person wonder what is the cause and what can be done to stop it.
This research for this article was sparked out of my own curiosity of the human mind and yet at the time that I’ve actually started to write (a one week period has passed) three males were arrested in Missouri for making terrorist threats to attack student at the University of Missouri due to unrest within the last week since the school football team started a campaign and protest to have the President of the school removed.
That movement gained steam and eventually included not only students but teachers and commanded national attention.
Three days ago I woke up to the news that Howard University, another HBCU, had been put on alert and had increased security yesterday in the wake of online threats.
According to Wikipedia, so far in 2015 alone there have been 11 shootings on college campuses across the united states. When you take into account that last month two of these shootings happened on the same day, we are on track to have the deadliest year on college campuses in over 5 years.
In 2014 there were 15 shootings on college campuses, 10 in 2013, a meager 2 in 2012, 1 in 2011 and 2 in 2010. It is impossible to ignore the fact that something has caused an increased violence on college grounds. These attacks have primarily been carried out by lone wolf types, angry at the world and hell bent on causing pain. But what is causing this increase in violence. What can we do to put an end to it?
2015 College Campus Shootings
February 7, 2015 – Columbia, South Carolina, A University of South Carolina professor, Raja Fayad, was shot several times in his upper body and killed by his ex-wife, Sunghee Kwon, in the school’s Public Health building. Kwon then committed suicide.
February 23, 2015 – Daytona Beach, Florida, Two students argued outside the music building at Bethune-Cookman University when one pulled out a gun. Both had guns and it is not disclosed who did the shooting, injuring three students. A reward was offered to help solve this case.
April 13, 2015 – Goldsboro, North Carolina, A faculty member was shot and killed with a rifle in the school library of Wayne Community College. The suspected 20-year-old gunman, Kenneth Stancil, was arrested in Florida the next day, and is charged with first-degree murder.
August 27, 2015 – Savannah, Georgia, 22-year-old student Christopher Starks was fatally shot in a student union building at Savannah State University. The shooter has not been identified.
September 3, 2015 – Sacramento, California, A man was arguing with at least one other person escalated into a physical fight on the parking lot of Sacramento City College. A man opened fire, killing a 25-year-old student and wounding two others. The shooting suspect has not been arrested.
September 14, 2015 – Cleveland, Mississippi, Delta State University employee Shannon Lamb fatally shot professor Ethan Schmidt in his office. The school subsequently went on lock down. Police pursued Lamb several hours later during a car chase. Lamb jumped out of his car, fled, and then fatally shot himself. Lamb had also fatally shot his girlfriend at a house in Gautier prior to the campus shooting.
October 1, 2015 – Roseburg, Oregon, Umpqua Community College shooting: At 10:38 a.m. PDT, a gunman, identified as 26-year-old student Christopher Harper-Mercer, opened fire in a hall on the Umpqua Community College campus, killing eight students and one teacher, and injuring nine others. Mercer then committed suicide after engaging responding police officers in a brief gunfight.
October 9, 2015 – Flagstaff, Arizona, One student died and three others were wounded in a shooting at Northern Arizona University. It is unclear what sparked the shooting, which took place near Mountain View Hall, a dormitory that houses most of the campus’ students involved in Greek organizations. An 18-year-old student was arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault,
October 9, 2015 – Houston, Texas, One person died and another person was injured after someone opened fire outside a Texas Southern University dorm.
October 22, 2015 – Nashville, Tennessee, One person was killed and three others were wounded in a shooting at an outdoor courtyard at Tennessee State University. The shooting may have stemmed from an argument over a dice game. A suspect has not been identified or arrested.
November 1, 2015 – Winston-Salem, North Carolina, One person died and another person was injured after someone opened fire on the campus of Winston-Salem State University. A 21-year-old non-student suspect is sought.
Sadly these attacks have been so commonplace even President Obama has said they’ve become so normal that reaction has become “routine” first the outcry, then his speech then the gun debate. Yet while so many are screaming out about gun control the majority of these college shooting and mass shootings in the united States have been carried out with legal guns, properly registered. Many of the states where these crimes have occurred have some of the stiffest gun laws yet these crimes continue to occur. What can be done to keep legal guns out of the hands of people intent to cause damage? Sadly. it seems not much.
It’s rare that these type attacks happen on college campuses by those who are non students so it leaves you to question, can the college system be revamped to help eliminate some of this threat? In talking to a friend the other day we discussed the college application and acceptance system, especially in community colleges. In many of these cases after the shooter is caught or dead, information comes out saying that the shooter had “mental issues” It was my opinion that colleges should do more mental screening in the application phase. It’s just my opinion but I think a lot of these lone wolf types could be monitored or even rejected from schools based on their mental stability.
College is a melting pot, we take people of all races, creeds, religions and beliefs and throw them in a contained area and tell them to make it work. Yes, most colleges have limited resource officers, a dean and even a resident adviser but just the number of rapes, hate crimes and hazing deaths that go on on college campuses make it clear that the resources needed to make college safe are not always in place. College should be treated like a job because it IS your first introduction into how the real world works. It’s not like home or high school where you can run to your teacher about what’s bothering you. There is no major difference between 17 and 18. Children turn 18 and we send them to college, many out of state and on their own away from family for the first time. We expect them to be able to maintain, to navigate the real world and all of its difficulties. A lot of them find it hard, they crack.
I myself am of the mindset that the college application process should be more than just grades, essay and tuition, which is the protocol for many. I think a psychiatric evaluation should be done on every student coming into the school. Any student who is coming in and already diagnosed with mental or learning disabilities or are on mood stabilizing medicine should be monitored the first year of school at least. As well as any student who exhibits the need for further evaluation. I also think a mandatory mentoring program should be in place from freshmen and upperclassman. Bring the community back to the college, be mindful of the people around you. Like I said earlier, college campuses are melting pots, a place where people of every creed, religion, race, and belief are all combined. It is the last step of education before one embarks out in the this huge world. One of the most important lessons learned in institutes of higher learning however isn’t taught in the class on a blackboard, it’s taught in the student union, in the fraternities and sororities, it’s taught on the quad. The lesson is that no matter how we look, feel or think about others that we all deserve the same respect, the same education and the same right to safety while pursuing it.