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Guess what everyone?

Cal Poly almost closed campus on Feb. 21 due to a threat on social media that referenced the possibility of a shooter at the university. The university sent out a couple of emergency notifications—aka Poly Alerts, a cool name for "THIS IS AN EMERGENCY." On Feb. 20, an alert notified the campus community about the threat and ensuing investigation.

On Feb. 21, the second alert was sent out saying campus was staying open. "The investigation indicates that Cal Poly was not the target of the post and the university has not received any direct threats to the safety of campus," it said.

Sweet, guys. Thanks for the super open-ended info.

I'm sure that the parents whose children attend one of the 15 primary education schools in or near the city of SLO and the students who attend Cuesta College didn't freak out at all.

Wait a minute. Are the University Police Department and the SLO Police Department too busy investigating President Donald Trump's ties to Russia that they can't follow up on this gun-related threat and tell everyone the name of the school that is supposedly getting shot up? Or are social media threats just super vague, unreliable, and a good place to spout off things that you would never say or do to an actual person?

Either way, it's a good thing that campus hosted an active shooter seminar the morning of Feb. 20 (Good timing, amirite!). Now the instructors are all extremely prepared in case that emergency ever arises. Here's what they learned: Turns out the classroom doors don't lock, and make sure you wear a belt.

WTF?

Let me explain. The doors open outward, away from the classroom. According to one seminar attendee, they were instructed to take their belts off and wrap them like a tourniquet around the triangular arm-hinge at the top of the door—you know the doohickey that enables it to open.

Shooter in the hallway? No problem. Rip off that belt and start wrapping, baby! Bam. Emergency situation averted.

Cal Poly spent about $55,000 to protect itself from the riots that were supposedly going to break out on campus that calm winter 2017 day Milo Yiannapolous brought his Dangerous Dumbass tour to campus, delivering a benign, boring, predictable speech about abortion. Maybe the more than 100 police officers helped avert that disaster, but that's a lot of cash.

Home Depot sells chain door guards for $6 apiece and deadbolts for as low as $10. Hey, I'm just throwing that out there as another potential way to avert disaster. That way you're not relying on someone who maybe chooses to wear a skirt or beltless pants to class the day a student decides to bring an AR-15 to school.

And that could totally happen.

Just ask the students who attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. All those school lockdown drills that are a standard part of being an elementary, junior high, and high school student these days became a reality on Feb. 14. A former student armed with a semi-automatic rifle decided Valentine's Day was the day to use it, killing 17 high school kids and wounding 16 others.

The potential of that reality coming to a school campus near you is exactly why the parents of 300 Santa Maria High School students yanked them from classes or prevented them from attending altogether once threatening Snapchat posts made the rounds on Feb. 16.

"A kid from SM high with a hand gun with the caption 'FUCK IT' and rumored to be going down ... My kids will be home not taking any chances," a Facebook post read with a screenshot of the photo.

This issue isn't going away anytime soon, no matter how many politicians take time out of their busy days to tweet that "our children deserve a safe place to go to school" (35th District Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham), or, "I grieve for the victims and their families with a heavy heart" (candidate for 24th Congressional District Justin Fareed), or, "We are the USA not the NRA [National Rifle Association]. TIME to take a stand against gun violence" (19th District State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson), or, "Unfortunately, NRA stands for No Republican Action" (24th District Congressman Salud Carbajal) after 17 high school students get shot with an AR-15 in Florida.

These statements sound similar to a bullet dinging off a metal locker in a high school hallway. Hollow.

What will you post on Twitter when there is an actual shooting at Cal Poly or Santa Maria High? Your grief will not be enough. You need to do something other than fight about "gun control."

People with mental health issues or histories of violence shouldn't have access to guns. The government needs to fund mental health services because it's a vital social safety net with huge holes in it. We also need to study gun violence.

About 20 years ago, the NRA, (which, by the way, has endorsed both Cunningham and Fareed), managed to convince the politicians it backed to get legislation passed in Congress forbidding the Centers for Disease Control from spending funds "to advocate or promote gun control." Ever since, the agency has basically refused to study gun violence and ways to prevent it.

We need that information to educate ourselves on the best path forward. Think you can tweet about that? ∆

The Shredder doesn't have opposable thumbs and can't shoot a gun. Send comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.


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