Recent shooting raises concerns

Elizabeth Cook

Despite a shooting at a Canadian college last week, life at the University went on as normal, though some raised concerns about safety on campus.

Even though there have not been similar incidents at the University, police said they are prepared just in case, and many students said they aren’t worried about a shooting on campus.

A 25-year-old man walked into a Montreal college Wednesday and opened fire, killing one woman and wounding at least 19 others.

The shooter, identified as Kimveer Gill, wore a black trench coat and started shooting outside before walking into the cafeteria, where he fired most of the shots. After police shot him in the arm, he took his own life.

The terror resurfaced the next day in Green Bay, Wis., when two 17-year-old boys were arrested on the suspicion of planning a shooting spree at a high school.

The threat of school shootings has been put on the forefront, especially since the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado, said Steve Johnson, deputy chief of University police.

All officers at the University go through active shooter training, he said.

Officers wear protective gear and go into a building in teams. Simulated ammunition is used as they comb through the building, interacting with the “suspect” or “shooter,” Johnson said. This is to simulate what it could possibly look like if there ever was a shooting.

Candy Price, a clinical social worker for Boynton Mental Health Service, said she has not talked to students specifically about the incident in Montreal, but safety is always a concern among students, especially with the recent assaults near campus.

“I think, in general, students are very concerned about safety,” she said.

Spanish studies sophomore Hailey Neumueller said a school shooting is not something she ever worries about on campus.

“I guess I’m in the mentality that it’s not going to happen here,” she said.

Neumueller said the University’s large size makes her feel safe.

Professor Stephan Carlson at the Extension 4-H Center for Youth Development said school shootings have no boundaries. Shootings occur in large cities, small suburbs and across economic lines.

Carlson said it’s hard to pin down exactly what causes a person to go into a school and injure others, but there is one similarity: the way shooters perceive the others around them.

“It seems like the kids are feeling attacked or being teased or feeling hopeless and then reacting in a way that they don’t feel there are other choices,” he said.

Advertising sophomore Sam Crews said the incident in Montreal made him worry about school shootings

“It freaked me out,” he said.

Crews said he thinks about “Minnesota nice,” and the passive-aggressiveness of people.

“It’s bubbling at the surface,” he said.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.