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opinion Guns for Protection in Universities Are Unnecessary

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January 23, 2013

By PATRICK MAROUN STAFF WRITER

Colleges and universities are like countries — their top priority is the safety of their citizens, or in this case, students. Fordham is no exception. In light of recent controversy, it seems appropriate to ask “What about guns?” Would students be safer if the guards who protect us had guns? Should students be allowed to have their own guns on campus? Can tragedies like the ones that occured in Columbine, Virginia Tech and, most recently, Sandy Hook be prevented? The issues surrounding guns are contentious, and debate over gun control has recently grown quite popular. I would like to emphasize, however, that the focus of this article is the relationship between guns and safety specifically on college campuses. In no way is this meant to be a commentary on the state of gun regulation laws in the United States as a whole. “All guards should carry guns and be trained to use them,” David Emami, GSB ’15, said. Last year, Emami was the victim of an armed robbery. “I was held at gun point on campus,” he said. “A guard walked in on us, but I did not say anything because I knew he was unarmed.”

Emami’s story highlights just how difficult it can be for institutions of higher learning to keep students safe. This is a reality that we must acknowledge. Emami and I disagree, however, in that I do not believe that the security guard would have been able to help the situation even if he had been armed with a gun. Imagine that the guard had been armed and that Emami had discreetly informed the guard of his situation. The guard would have most likely drawn his weapon, creating a situation where Emami was no longer being robbed, but held hostage by a man looking to escape apprehension. “I do not think more guns is the answer. I would rather have mace,” James, who asked for his last name to be withheld, a security guard who works in O’Hare Hall, said. “What if [a guard] had a bad day — like at home? We do not know what people have been through or what goes on in their lives. What if he has a confrontation with a student for whatever reason? When things get tense, the last thing that we need in the equation is a gun.” I tend to agree with the assessment James offered. I think he is certainly right; anytime you deal with a gun, you deal with deadly force. This fact should not be taken lightly.

James and I then discussed the idea of students having guns of their own. “We have people equipped to deal with tragedies,” he said. “We have police. We have SWAT teams. That is why we have them.” Students do not need guns. Emami agrees, “[There are] too many students. It only takes one mentally ill, angry or drunk student to cause a tragedy.” The problem with guns is the fact that their presence immediately escalates a conflict into a life-or-death situation because they can be used with such deadly force. Guns endanger students when they are present on campus, even when handled by welltrained people. No one is perfect, and people make mistakes. A weapon that can kill people as easily as a gun can leaves no room for error in any circumstance. We should not endanger students by surrounding them with such deadly forces. It is the responsibility of the university to keep its students safe, and even though equipping guards with firearms may be undertaken in an effort to protect students, it can only endanger them further. Patrick Maroun, FCRH ’15, is a political science and theology major from Norwood, Mass.

DAN MURRAY/THE RAM

Guns, particularly in students’ hands, would create an unsafe culture on campus.

Online Journalism Diminishes Newspapers’ Influence By RICHARD BORDELON OPINION EDITOR

In the times of Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and the 24-hour news cycle, one cannot deny the influence of the Internet. Fueled by a population craving instant gratification and desiring to be constantly online, many institutions, including the press, have turned to the Internet. Online news outlets, such as The Huffington Post, have grown in popularity and influence throughout the past 10 years, and many people now look to these sources, in ad-

dition to cable news websites, for their news. But at what cost? Newspapers. Newspapers in America trace their roots back to colonial times where they were the chief sources of information throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. With the advent of television in the 20th century, some might say that the newspaper waned in importance and influence. Many say, however, that the accessibility of the Internet and the dawn of the 24hour news cycle is finally starting to truly erode the relevance of

print journalism and the newspaper industry as a whole. Furthermore, big corporations, such as Advance Publications, which run print journalism, are beginning to cut down on the production of these papers, a truly horrible consequence of the Internet age in which we live. Newsweek, one of the most widely circulated news magazines in America, even ceased print publication at the end of 2012. One of the most public casualties of the cut-backs in newesrooms is The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, my hometown.

ELIZABETH ZANGHI/THE RAM

Online news outlets may, unfortunately, eventually replace traditional journalism entities, such as The New York Times.

Now, as a journalist and New Orleanian, I take pride in my city and its newspaper. The end of daily circulation of a paper based in New Orleans creates a bad situation for many residents and citizens. It also serves as a warning that needs to be heeded by the rest of the nation. Although only about 64 percent of New Orleans residents have access to Internet in their homes, according to the Kaiser Foundation, Advance Publications, the Picayune’s New York-based parent company, still made the decision to decrease the print publication schedule to three days per week. “The future is going to be digital,” Theodore P. Mahne, a former staff writer for The Times-Picayune, said in a phone interview. But New Orleans is “a poor city, with a large number of people who do not have Internet access and rely on newspaper to stay informed.” Mahne echoes the sentiments of Gregory Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans, who, in an interview with 60 Minutes said regarding the newspaper’s reduced print schedule, “I am really concerned about the elderly and the poor. This puts them in a very disadvantaged position.” “The people who loved The Times-Picayune the most are the ones not able to access it online,” Courtney Code, FCRH ’15 and a New Orleans native, said. “New Orleans is such a community and to take away the news from that community from the outside is wrong.” Mahne, who currently writes

on a freelance basis for the Picayune, also brought up the role of a newspaper as a public servant. Without a printed paper, “it is far too easy for corruption [in government] to creep in. Newspapers are the key safeguards against it,” Mahne said. Many proponents of online news claim that the Internet provides immediacy in regard to news Mahne argues, however, “A printed paper gives better perspective. If a reporter is just trying to update a story constantly, there is no time to digest the story.” The printed newspaper provides this format. By presenting the news in a manner that facilitates ease of access and allows the reader to take his or her time to read a story, a newspaper contributes a valuable service to the public, which cannot be replaced by anything on the Internet, as of yet. Furthermore, “Anyone can put up a website, but there is no authority there,” Mahne said. A newspaper provides this authority, and although many people claim that they do not like editors telling them what is important, “[the editors] know they are providing a service,” Mahne said, and thus they facilitate the newspapers to reflect this duty. Although the Internet is beginning its strong push against traditional print media, one must remember that newspapers, at their core, are a public institution and provide a service to a community that cannot be replaced. Richard Bordelon, FCRH ’15, is a political science and history major from New Orleans, La.

Volume 95 Issue 1  

Fordham University's The Ram, Volume 95 Issue 1.

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