Campus Shootings: Bleak Future of the U.S.
Afghan security forces stand guard after an attack on the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The attack has ended, a senior police officer said Thursday, after several people were killed. Kabul police Chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said the dead included one guard, and that about 700 students had been rescued. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
A campus wide shooting at the American University of Afghanistan occurred Wednesday in Kabul, Afghanistan, involving three men who attacked the student body, killing 13 people and injuring dozens more.
Seven students, three professors, two university guards and a night guard at the neighboring school for the blind, which is where the attack began, made up those who were killed.
According to The New York Times, one of the attackers first shot the night guard while another drove a car full of explosives into the front wall of the American university.
The Times interviewed a spokesperson for the Kabul police, Abdul Baseer Mujahid, who said that over 30 people were hurt in the shooting. There was also a report from the Health Ministry of Afghanistan that said 16 had been killed and 53 wounded.
The men entered the school and went after any students or professors on campus, while at the same time fighting off local and campus police for 10 hours.
All three of the attackers were killed, with no information yet regarding any terrorist group affiliation.
School shootings have become fairly common occurrences for all levels of education, from elementary to university.
According to Time magazine, there was a total of 53 school shootings in 2015 in the United States and of those, 23 occurred on college campuses.
Some of these shootings were not as massive as the American University of Afghanistan attack, but others have come close to the same death toll.
One of the largest university shootings in 2015 was at Umpqua Community College in Oregon on Oct. 1 that killed 10 people including the gunman.
There have also been numerous school shootings over the past six months. On June 1, 2016 two men were killed at the University of California, Los Angeles in a murder-suicide.
“Two people died. One was a professor and the other was the shooter. It was a targeted attack,” Tanner Walters, editor-in-chief of The Daily Bruin at UCLA said.
The victim was identified as William Scott Klug, an associate professor that taught the gunman, 38 year-old former UCLA Ph.D student, Mainak Sarkar. Following the gunshots there was a campus wide notification sent out to warn students and other professors of the threat.
In the aftermath of the shooting, the UCLA Police Department and the UCLA administration made changes to campus security and procedures.
“Right after the shooting UCLA started a task force and they are working on creating a gun violence research center. The task force is working on the locks of the doors because when the shooting happened people couldn’t really secure the doors to classrooms,” Walters said.
Currently this is the biggest job the task force is working on to make sure that everyone is safe in the future.
“They have until Sept. 1 to recommend a new lock system and that is their main focus,” Walters said.
Walters said that although the shootings are different in regards to the death toll and the motivation, they both violated the safety of college students.
“Even though it wasn’t a mass scale attack, you didn’t know that in the moment so [the shooting] highlights the flaws in the system. So the American University shooting highlighted the flaws in the security system as a whole,” Walters said.
There have been at least two college shootings in Oklahoma, within the last two years and there was a perceived shooting at the University of Oklahoma in 2014.
Although it was only a false alarm, OU has put forth new policies and procedures to ensure the safety of students and faculty.
According to Vice President of Public Relations at OU, Catherine Bishop, there are numerous protective initiatives in place.
“The OU Emergency Communication System can notify all our students, faculty, and staff of any potential emergency situation within minutes by phone, text message, and e-mail. It is our belief that continuous and rapid notification is one of the best protections available for members of our community,” Bishop said.
OU also has on campus counseling, a joint SWAT team with the OU Police Department and the Norman Police Department. There are also emergency blue phones directly linked to the police all around OU’s campus.
While there has not been a shooting on the University of Central Oklahoma campus, there are procedures in place to prevent such an event.
According to Director of Emergency Management, Norman Nieves, the Edmond police are the first responders to any sort of gun violence threat.
“The police assess the situation and call for backup. My job is to call the president [Betz] and the vice president [Barthell] and from there I would get the police the resources they needed,” Nieves said.
Both the Edmond and the UCO Police Departments have had the same training pertaining to a situation such as a campus shooting.
“There is a first team that comes and their job is to eliminate the threat. Then there is another team that comes to help the wounded,” Nieves said.
To prevent the possibly of a shooting, UCO has the Behavioral Assessment Team that gathers information from professors, housing and other sources to evaluate a potential situation.