Questions Students Need the Answers To

by Garrett Ferrara

I often mention to friends that despite the news’ insistence otherwise, we’re living in arguably the safest time humanity has ever had the pleasure of living in. Death and danger from violent crime and war are at all-time lows especially in western society. Then a deranged person decides to ruin that feeling of comfort. Lately, I have noticed that the doors to many of my classrooms don’t have a way to lock from the inside without a key. A key, I might add, that isn’t held by anyone in the classroom. The subject is difficult to talk about at best and a grim triggering event for survivors at its worst. But it’s a subject we as students should talk about. We deserve the right to feel safe on our campus. In the political playing field, its up to the students to decide the answers for themselves. In the immediate term, there’s other solutions. Our relatively safe living environment is somewhat of a double-edged sword, because we’re also at a time where we, as modern civil-minded students, are the least prepared in what to do in the event of such an emergency. Thankfully, UCF has had the foresight to address a few of these issues. Here are the questions that every student should know the answer to regarding active shooter situations.

What are the odds of me being the victim of an active shooter situation?

Very hard question to answer definitively but easy to estimate. Short answer: Very, very low. Long Answer: With a little help from google and napkin math, you roughly have the same chance of being killed or injured in active shooter situation as you do being killed or injured by lightning. This includes terrorist attacks and incidents like the one that happened in Las Vegas on October 1st. Interesting to note, according to the FBI’s study on active shooter situations, about 25% of the incidents happened in an educational setting. The bottom line is this; like lightning strikes, it happens enough to be prepared but not enough that you should live in fear of it every day.

Ok, but statistics don’t help me if it happens. What should I do if it does happen?

Get out of the area if you can. Hide and barricade yourself in a secure location if you can’t. Fight back only as a last resort. Don’t take my word for it, mostly out of the potential legal ramifications. Instead, watch the video that the UCF Police Department put out for such incidents below.

I overheard someone talking about what might be plans to conduct an incident here at UCF. What should I do?

Tell someone in an authority position immediately. Ideally talk to the UCF police department about it. It will be difficult, and if you’re wrong it might even be a bit embarrassing. But if you see something, say something. You could be what stops an incident before it starts.

Despite your statistics and a plan, I still don’t feel safe in the matter. Am I allowed to carry a firearm on campus?

Absolutely not. Florida Statute 790.06 does not permit carrying a weapon on “Any college or university facility unless the licensee is a registered student, employee, or faculty member of such college or university and the weapon is a stun gun or nonlethal electric weapon or device designed solely for defensive purposes and the weapon does not fire a dart or projectile.” The only exception to this rule concerns keeping a firearm in your vehicle while it is in a parking lot, but if you didn’t already know that, consult the UCF Police Department prior to making any decisions that could be illegal.

These issues make me feel helpless and they’re starting to affect my everyday well-being. What can I do about that?

Breath. This conversation should make you feel a little uncomfortable and it rightfully garners a strong emotional response. Avoid taking out the stress on students or people in your life that may have different ideas of what the solution is. That’s between you, the polls, and whichever form of civic engagement you decide to pursue. If it goes beyond discomfort, don’t hesitate to go talk to someone about it; you’d be surprised at the willingness of some to discuss what to do in an emergency. It’s never your fault to the victim of a tragedy but it is our responsibility to have a plan.

I have more questions, who can I ask?

The UCF Police department has the answers to all the questions you might have. If you’re concerned about anything in any way, they’re willing and able to help.