» Andy wolf – awolf@my.apsu.edu

Here comes the cavalry — too little, too late.

In light of recent violent crimes committed on campus and the surrounding area, an interesting question has continually been raised: “Where were the police?”

As both a friend of law enforcement and an aspiring police officer, I am in no way belittling the efforts of our campus and city police departments. I’m just saying they can’t be everywhere at once.

So where does that leave you, the student? Declawed, I’m afraid.

Not too long ago, a friend of mine was getting a part time job at a local bar. Her job required her to walk downtown late at night and return early in the morning. Feeling the odds were against her, I took her to the local gun store and bought her a can of pepper spray.

After instructing her on how to properly deploy the spray and when and where it is appropriate to do so, I sent her back to campus. Not 24 hours had passed when I was informed she was told she could not possess it and it was classified as a “weapon.”

According to a resolution passed in April 2011 by the rather naive Student Government Association against a bill allowing students to be armed for the purpose of self defense claimed with the presence of APSU campus police, “there is no need for weapons of any kind to be on campus owned by faculty and/or staff.”

Tell that to the individual who was allegedly held at knife point near the Memorial Health building last Monday.

As someone whose business was and may again be the protection of valued personnel in dangerous places, I tend to see things a little differently than the average person. By and large, most college-aged students are oblivious to their surroundings. Honestly, most students would be easy targets for someone who means to do them harm.

I’m not going to go into a big rant about my belief that responsible, competently trained students with state-approved conceal carry permits should be allowed to possess a handgun on campus.

That desire does exist, however, as shown by the Facebook group “Students For Concealed Carry at Austin Peay State University.”

Nor am I going to openly encourage those who do not follow policy and carry knives and spray to continue doing so. I am simply pointing to a gap in personal security left unaddressed for too long.

Our law enforcement officers work hard. They are all academy-trained and state certified. All in all they do a great job and make great efforts to maintain a good rapport with the students they are both sworn and paid to protect.

The Clarksville Police Department and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department have some great guys who I can vouch for first-hand. But it is not their sole job to protect you. You also need to be aware of your surroundings and able to protect yourself.

No weapons? No problem. While I do feel we have been placed at a disadvantage by flawed policy, I can only encourage you to contact SGA and complain until changes are made. In the meantime, it would behoove you to remain aware of your surroundings and maintain a sense of vigilance. Travel in groups, don’t place yourself in bad neighborhoods and use common sense.

After all, if there is anything I have learned hopping from one hotspot to the next, it is the greatest weapon you could ever possess is behind your eyes and between your ears. TAS