Hitting the panic button

Hitting the panic button

Athens Messenger: Last Wednesday, a report of an armed robbery in a parking lot off campus created chaos. Not because of the event itself but because of the way everyone reacted to it.

We’re now officially a society on edge. People who are going to jump at the sound of any pop and assume its gunfire.

How else can you explain why Ohio University President Roderick McDavis closed the university after the incident? There was no evidence the suspect had any intentions of doing anything other than what he had already allegedly done — holding up a student in an off-campus parking lot for the $5 she had on her at the time. The description of the suspect and his weapon hardly matched the profile of someone who had intentions of pulling off a mass shooting or creating a catastrophic event.

Clearly this decision was based more on emotion than logic. Why?

The fact the university decided to close campus and send Eastern Michigan’s basketball team packing but yet failed to notify Athens County Emergency Management, 911, the State Highway Patrol (which has jurisdiction over crimes that happen on state property) and the Athens County Sheriff’s Office are two scenarios that are totally inconsistent with one another....

If nothing else, at least Wednesday’s incident highlighted the need for better communication between the county’s first responders....

What we’re left wondering is what happens the next time there is a report of an armed robber near campus? A bank robbery uptown? A shooting in a residential neighborhood? Crimes have occurred near campus for more than 200 years. What happens now?

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