There have been 307 mass shootings in the United States in 2017, according to the New York Times. A mass shooting involves four or more people injured or killed in a single event at the same time and location. The largest shootings this year happened in Las Vegas, Nevada and Sutherland Springs, Texas.
On October 1, Stephen Paddock opened fire at a country music festival in Las Vegas killing 59 people and injuring 527. On November 5, Devin Patrick Kelley entered a church in Sutherland Springs and opened fire on the congregation, killing 26 people, eight of which were children or teenagers.
These recent events could be a cause for concern about personal safety in everyday life on college campuses.
“We’ve been very proactive over the last number of years to be mindful of what is occurring off-campus and how that relates to our students,” Director of Safety and Administrative Services Lynn Maynard says.
Messiah’s safety officers stay up to date on procedures, sometimes attending trainings off-campus and other times participating in training on-campus.
“We just had active shooter training here at the end of May 2016, which was very informative for us. We worked with outside law enforcement, and it was very helpful for us to identify areas we need to work on,” Maynard says.
While the Department of Safety works hard to keep campus safe, it’s not realistic that they can be aware of everything that’s happening on campus at all times. “It becomes incumbent upon everyone in our community to be mindful and aware,” Maynard says.
Maynard stresses the importance of paying attention to your surroundings and noticing people or items that seem suspicious. “Ultimately, you should go with your gut instinct. If something doesn’t seem right, there might be something wrong with the situation. Give our department a call so we can investigate it,” Maynard says.
Maynard assures that campus safety officers investigate every call they receive and would much rather respond to a call that turns out to be nothing than not be notified of a potentially dangerous situation.