Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Campus Gun Violence Debate Stuck on Safety

Entering my first class of the school year, I claimed the desk closest to the door in anticipation of my mad dash to the next class. Notebook out, polite conversation conducted, my eyes wandered to the emergency instructions posted on the wall next to me. In addition to the typical instructions about the fire escape route and the course of action for a natural disaster, I found a section on what to do in a defend-in-place or active shooter situation.

As I completed the 10-minute dash from the ICC to Car Barn — working my way through the labyrinthine buildings and cursing the heat — a disturbing internal monologue played out in my head. I lamented the seemingly 100-degree afternoon and my new seat in the back between a sweaty football player and a girl whose laptop covered half my writing surface. Yet, the silver lining I came to was that if someone came in and started shooting, the 50 bodies obscuring my view of the front of the classroom would cover me.

Why would such a morbid thought come to my head? Open a newspaper, watch the news or scroll through your Facebook newsfeed; gun violence pervades the current state of affairs in the United States.

One may posit that I simply possess a twisted mind or should seriously stop visiting news sites before bed, but the specter of gun violence is inescapable.
I live in Washington, D.C., where 12 people were killed at the Navy Yard last year, and I have a penchant for movie theaters, where 12 people were killed in Aurora, Colo., in 2012. Beyond that, I am a college student with two sisters in college; one interns in a second-grade classroom and the other works fulltime coordinating undergraduate co-ops, and neither plans on leaving the world of education.

We all know the names — Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook — but as unnerving as these names are, more alarming is the unknown name of the next school. We know that there will be another school shooting, as evidenced by the names that have come after Sandy Hook — Santa Monica College, UC Santa Barbara, Seattle Pacific and many more. What if that next school were my sister’s second-grade classroom? Or her future kindergarten one? What if that school were the one my older sister is about to start a doctoral program at? Or the one where she works at every day?
What if that school were Georgetown?

A school brimming with altruistic students who throw themselves into programs to raise funds for cancer research, tutor underserved kids, advocate for workers and pretty much everything else. A school cultivating flocks of future lawyers, doctors, financiers and politicians.

Despite the prevalence of gun violence in this country, it remains an issue untouched by the Georgetown community. Not one of my professors went over the instructions on the signs posted by every classroom door; none of the campus ministry organizations tabling in Red Square last week recruited students for a campaign against gun violence; none of the more than 200 co-curricular clubs and activities on campus cater to this issue.

What will it take for the Georgetown community to raise its voice against the explosion of gun violence in our country?

As the person sitting closest to the door in all but one of my classes, I am praying that I won’t be told to defend in place in an active shooter situation.

Jade Walsh is a senior in the College.

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