By Ivan De Val:
At around 8:20 p.m. Oct. 9, students and staff at Texas Tech University received an emergency alert. At around 3:50 p.m. Oct. 10, students and staff at Amarillo College also received an alert. As opposed to Tech’s “a shooting has been reported at TTU Police Department. Shooter is at large. The campus is on lockdown. Take shelter” alert, AC’s alert read “This is a TEST of the AC Alert System. There is NO emergency.”
It took about an hour and 30 minutes from the time the Texas Tech shooting happened to when the suspect was apprehended. Although every situation is different and there are many factors to be considered, AC police say the time it takes to get from any point on campus to another is usually under one minute.
“We’ve done our own study here of how long it would take to get on campus. Normally if something was happening and we were on foot, going from Parcell’s or Byrd over to Dutton Hall, probably less than a minute. If we were on the golf cart, or our Diggler, it would probably take us 30 seconds,” Cpl. Scott Acker, campus police officer, said.
In Texas, in order to get a concealed handgun license, applicants must be at least 21 years of age. Community colleges throughout the state started allowing concealed handguns on campus earlier this year.
The suspect at Tech’s shooting was only 19 years old, which is why many argue that carrying a concealed handgun makes things safer, since criminals will acquire a gun one way or another.
“We do need them because we can defend ourselves if something happens,” Mayte Martinez, a nursing major, said.
Other students, however, are not so sure it is a good idea.
“If students get into an argument with a student or professor, it could possibly escalate to something so much more, like possibly shooting one another. We are all human. We get mad, some more than others,” Tyler Palacios, a criminal justice major, said.
Police say they are able to contact the vast majority of students and faculty during an emergency in many ways including voice, email and text messages.
“I think it was five minutes, it reached 83,000 contacts in about five minutes. It didn’t take long either, I think after I sent it my phone went off within less than a minute with a text message and then a minute later my email went off,” Acker said.
If an active shooter situation was ever to arise, besides staying calm, police recommend to follow the widely-used ADD approach, which stands for Avoid-Deny-Defend. The best thing to do is to avoid the attacker at all times. If that cannot be done, the next best thing is to find shelter and deny entry to the attacker. As a last resort, everyone has the right to defend themselves.
Officials encourage students and faculty to update their emergency contact information by visiting actx.edu/alert.