I attend Binghamton University, which lies within one of the highest crime-rated cities in the state of New York and the country as a whole. It’s located in Vestal, just outside of Binghamton, New York.
In 2016, there were more than 1,440 cases of larceny and almost 100 cases of robbery alone. And according to Broome County police, the majority of the city of Binghamton’s violent crimes are assaults, with nearly 30 victims of rape and five murders. Authorities said that is a substantial increase from past years.
Today my chances of becoming a victim of a violent crime in Binghamton is 1 in 116, while in New York state alone it is only 1 in 280. With a crime index of one to 100 — with 100 being the safest — Binghamton is listed as a three.
As if these statistics were not enough, here’s what Binghamton University has experienced within the past year I have been on campus.
In March 2018, the death of a peer made headlines across the nation when Haley Anderson, a 22 year-old senior nursing student here at BU, was found dead at an off-campus residence near the school.
About two weeks later, Joao Souza, an engineering student and native of Brazil, was stabbed to death in his own dormitory.
President Harvey Stenger responded on April 16, 2018, by issuing a statement encouraging students and their parents to subscribe to the B-Alert account, which would notify when urgent matters occur, and to “keep your BU-ID with you at all times” and “keep doors to your room and/or suite locked.”
Finally, around 5:30 p.m., Stenger mentioned the safety of his students.
“As president, my top priority is keeping everyone in our campus community safe,” he wrote, but then quickly dismissed it and tried to blame the size of the campus as one of the issues.
“Unfortunately, we live in a time where violence is part of society, and, as a campus of 17,000+ students and several thousand faculty and staff, there are occasions where violence will intrude on our campus,” he wrote.
Fast forward to March 31 of this year, when the Johnson City Police Department was forced to respond to the shooting of 50-year-old Shakeel Khan. Khan was the owner of the local business Halal Bites. Johnson City flanks the north side of campus and borders Binghamton to its west.
Shortly after, on April 10, students received a B-ALERT stating Johnson City police were responding to another report of “shots fired.”
These alerts are almost always at least an hour after the shootings occur. This is why I should be able to carry on campus.
Clearly, blue light safety phones, locked doors, student I.D.s and cell phones are not enough to keep us safe the moment something happens. Police are great — but cannot be everywhere all the time. But what saves lives in an immediate attack? A properly armed and trained good person with a gun.
My constitutional rights should not stop because of feckless administrators or lawmakers.
New York state and the State University of New York prohibit me from embracing and utilizing my Second Amendment right. Had a responsible, law abiding student been concealed carrying in one of the rooms my peers were senselessly murdered in, they might still be here today.
There is no reason my personal welfare should be a bipartisan issue. Stop brushing tragedies under the rug and start pulling reality out from them instead. If we don’t, the freedoms we take for granted now may soon be taken from us. And once they’re gone, don’t expect to get them back.