Community, Public Safety

Mass shootings across the U.S. pose safety questions locally

By Joe Bloss SYRACUSE N.Y. (NCC NEWS) — Dozens of families across the United States — in Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Texas, and, as of this week, Rancho Tehama, California — mourn the loss of loved ones after mass shootings have shattered each of those communities, respectively.

While each incident was isolated, the overall effect felt throughout the nation has plenty of people feeling uneasy. Count Syracuse University students Matt Gutierrez and Ally Moreo among them. The two said they discuss and read news coverage of these tragedies often, and feel as if the general public has become numb to the horror of mass shootings.

It’s not that they feel unsafe in Syracuse, but Guttierez said he does sometimes worry about what would happen if something similar struck  SU. For Moreo, this issue has been on her mind for years; she lives just 30 minutes from Newtown, Connecticut.

“I really feel like (the Department of Public Safety) or Syracuse needs to be proactive in telling students about situations like this, what to do,” Gutierrez said. “I know it’s kind of scary, but at the same time, there needs to be a little heightened awareness.”

DPS, which did not immediately reply to a request for comment but did direct NCC News to its website, does make efforts to educate the campus population. Online, it hosts a video depicting what to do in an active shooter situation. It teaches viewers to follow a safety procedure of “run, hide, fight.” If in danger, the first option is to run away. Once far enough away, or if running isn’t an option, hide to shield yourself from the shooter’s view and aim. Lastly, if confronted by the shooter, try to use some sort of weapon to disable him/her. For example, grab a fire extinguisher or pair of scissors.

Moreo felt that kind of instruction doesn’t suffice. She suggested possibly educating all freshman about the run, hide, fight method in courses mandatory for freshmen, like the College of Arts and Sciences’ WRT 105 or the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications’ COM 107.

Should there ever be an active shooter situation on or near campus, SU would deploy its Orange Alert system. It was tested last week, sounding an alarm heard across campus and sending messages to all subscribed users via text message, email and phone calls.