I note from the On the Campus column in the March 6 issue that the campus police officers are not allowed to carry guns and that there is objection to doing so, in part because “increasing the number of guns is neither helpful nor conducive to a stable community.”
I am sure our administration knows more than the administrations of Brown, Yale, Penn, Harvard, Cornell, and MIT, all of whom permit their police to carry weapons, possibly because the recent declaration of our administration that Princeton shall be a gun-free campus has produced such a bucolic atmosphere that no psychopath could possibly enter the grounds of Princeton and wreak havoc on any students or faculty.
I also am sure that students voicing opinions like that above do not know how a seemingly innocent situation can turn ugly and, when it does, the policeman present does not have time to call one of the “real” policemen with a gun. Do the students expressing such ideas have any concept of the fear and danger faced by an unarmed police officer who experiences a situation like the one described in the first paragraph of the On the Campus column, when a basement light goes on and off while the officer is searching faculty and staff housing? Of course not, because the officer is there to protect — with his life, if necessary — the safety of the students who have the luxury of debate and not the danger of confrontation.
I note an increasing trend in this country for people who never have actually faced difficult or dangerous situations to give instructions to those who are charged with that awesome responsibility.