Flames of the Torch

With the stressful lives that college students lead, comprised of classes, activities, homework, jobs, and social lives, days and weeks can seem to blur together.

Some might forget whether they handed that paper in one week ago or two. Others could be unable to recall exactly what day the last party they attended was, though that might not entirely be the result of stress.

So asking what a student did, where they did it, and who they were with on a day over a year ago might seem a ridiculous request.

Who remembers what they did on a specific day a whole year ago? Unless it was something significant, few probably would.
How about September 26?

For those who forgot, or at least did not recall the exact date, September 26, 2007 was the day that Omesh Hiraman brought an antique replica firearm to campus, causing a campus lockdown that lasted several hours and a shockwave of fear and outrage that impacted St. John’s for weeks afterward.

Only a year and a half ago, which was a few months before the St. John’s incident, there was a much greater tragedy at Virginia Tech. This was fresh in the minds of St. John’s students on that day in September.

Then, as the semester wore on, Winter Break came and went, and the Spring Semester gave way to summer, the talk and concerns about the campus gunman and the effect he had on St. John’s seemed to fade.

The University moved on, as it should have, and life went on as usual. But how quickly should students have slipped back into complacency, no longer thinking about the event that affected St. John’s so heavily?

It seemed that thoughts of the lockdown had faded by the end of the year.

Why is this? Is it a move by students to strike the fearful events from their memories? Or does it have more to do with a short attention span that seems to be prevalent among Americans at large?

How quickly should people’s mindsets return to “business as usual?”

In the months immediately following the incident, precautions were taken both to increase safety on campus and to reassure the student body. A system of loudspeakers was set up in classroom buildings to allow for easier communication of emergency announcements across campus.

The emergency text messages employed during the campus lockdown entered into greater use, alerting students of snow days and public safety advisories. Emailed advisories became more frequent and information was made more readily available by Public Safety.

What are the problems with these precautions?

They are the most noticeable things that have been done.
This is not to say that the University must necessarily do more, but as a community as a whole we must remember what happened on that day last year.

Though the incident resulted in a non-life threatening situation, students should not become complacent. Instead, we should use the one-year anniversary as a reminder that we should continue to protect ourselves and be aware of our surroundings.

September 26 is not a date we necessarily need to remember, but its reminder that safety is always a concern should certainly not be forgotten.