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April 10, 2013

The campus "gun scare" you never heard about [Purp]

Normally, the national media is all over the kind of story where hundreds of students are panicking, some injured in the panic, a campus is locked down, and heavily armed state police are called in, right? Its a hanging curve right in the media's wheelhouse begging to be pounded into the cheap seats with at least a full days worth of breathless coverage and interviews, right?

Not this time though...

...there was something very "inconvenient" and kind of embarrassing about the story. The inconvenient thing is that it happened in Rhode Island.

Right now you're wondering why a Rhode Island campus gun scare is different than any other state, right? Its a good question and the answer is below the fold.

Its because the campus police in Rhode Island are disarmed. That's right, in Rhode Island, the first responders on campus are expected to respond to lethal threats with non-lethal force. You'll have to scroll down to the bottom of that article to find that out.

The incident has re-ignited the debate over whether URI should allow its police officers to carry guns.

Mark Chearino, a 15-year veteran of the URI police force, said that Rhode Island is the only state in which campus police don’t have firearms.

“Guess they don’t have the money,” he said Thursday during the lockdown. “I don’t know. They don’t trust us.”

Chearino testified in 2001 before the Board of Governors on Higher Education.

“We were told arming the police would adversely affect the learning environment at URI,” he said, adding that after Virginia Tech, “Police officers who are assigned to protect should not be without a firearm in this day and age.”

Chearino said he did not think Thursday’s incident would change anyone’s mind about arming the campus police.

“This won’t do it,” he said. “A hoax is a hoax.”

Chearino said that if he saw someone with a gun on campus he’d run. “I’m gonna run and hide behind a car like everyone else, he said. “I’m not Superman.”

The good news though is the heavily armed state police (who showed up only 20min after the call) confiscated a Nerf gun from some student, although nobody knows if that's what set off the panic...but they took it anyway just to be sure.

Operating under the principle of an "abundance of caution", 50 cases of pop tarts were also confiscated from the university cafeteria lest they be carelessly nibbled into menacing forms(1).

(1) I may have made up that part about the pop tarts...but the nerf gun is true.

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posted by Open Blogger at 05:39 AM

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