Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Students voluntarily took part in program to fight back

I've been following some comments both on-line and on local talk radio that take aim at the students who were part of my story Monday night on the University of Akron's "ALICE" program.

It's aimed at training college students to react and take action should someone begin opening fire on campus. Obviously, in this post-Virginia Tech world, college campuses are looking to make their areas as safe as they can be for students and staff.

This new approach is about teaching would-be victims to at least go out swinging. To not just sit in fear while someone takes lives. If possible, throw something at the gunman to divert their attention from putting you in the cross hairs .. and second, to swarm the gunman with as many people as possible to subdue him and his weapon.

Now 24 hours since our story hit air, the reaction has been all over the place. Some folks saying that the program is a death wish for students looking to be heroes instead of doing the "right thing" by taking a defensive position to protect themselves. Others think the time would be better spent teaching students to barricade doors and lock the bad guy in a closed area.

I don't think the U of Akron police officers teaching ALICE would dispute those options, as long as they exist. But in the case of a face-to-face, life-or-death confrontation, ALICE was about taking action to try and save lives, or at least lessen the body count.

More than anything, I just want viewers to know that taking part was voluntary .. and not one of the students I saw Monday raised a complaint while our cameras were there. They all took part on their own.

To date, UAPD tells me that nearly 600 staff and students have completed the program.

Is it the best way to subdue a gunman who is out to kill? I have no idea.

I can only hope that a tragedy like this never happens locally -- or anywhere. Still, students need to have a mental plan of survival ... and only each individual knows for sure what they think they're willing to do.


Dustinba said...

Great story Eric!

Swanny said...

The best solution is to allow students the right to concealed carry on campus. Let's not forget the law school shooting on a campus in Virginia that was stopped by armed students.

Check out: http://concealedcampus.org/

From their website:

"Students for Concealed Carry on Campus is a national, non-partisan, grassroots organization comprised of over 30,000 college students, college faculty members, parents of college students, and concerned citizens (about 90% U.S. college students and 10% faculty, parents, and concerned citizens) who support the right of concealed handgun license holders to carry concealed handguns on college campuses. SCCC has members in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and several foreign countries."

Eric Mansfield said...

It's a great point .. and seems like a simple solution.
We're dealing with adults here who have completed the necessary training to have a CC license, so why not trust them to use that training if put in a life-or-death situation?
If we can admit that the college landscape has become more dangerous, how can we deny adult students the ability to best defend themselves?
I wonder if college leaders would ever support such an idea.

Swanny said...


I never thought I would see college leaders proposing lowering the drinking age either, so anything is possible.