The Reserve Officer Training Corps, commonly referred to as ROTC, has been training college students to become officers in our nation’s military since 1916. Since then, it has produce countless leaders who have gone on to serve our country in war and in peace, both in and out of uniform. All in all, it’s obviously a great program.
It is, of course, a military training program, and that means that sometimes (trigger warning: I’m going to use the words “guns,” “weapons,” and “rifles” in the following paragraphs) cadets use weapons in their training. This should not be a shock to anyone. ROTC is training cadets to lead troops into battle. Touching a gun every now and then probably doesn’t hurt if you’re planning on making a career out of destroying the enemies of the United State of America in close combat.
One associate professor at the University of North Dakota, however, thought that it did hurt. Badly. Heidi Czerwiec panicked after seeing “two figures in camo with guns” outside her window. She was so scared that she later wrote a letter to a local paper expressing her sentiments.
From Washington Times:
My first thought is for my students’ and my safety: I grab my phone, crawl under my desk and call 911,” she wrote.
The threat, however, was two ROTC students carrying guns on their way to a routine training exercise, Campus Reform reported.
“I can barely talk — first, with fear, and then with rage when the dispatcher reports back that yes, in fact, I’ve probably just seen ROTC cadets, though they’re going to send an officer to check because no one has cleared it with them,” Ms. Czerwiec wrote.
I wasn’t there, so I can’t speak with certainty on this, but I think I know what Ms. Czerwiec saw. The cadets were likely carrying what are colloquially referred to as “rubber ducks.” These are inert rifles used for training. None of the key operating components of the rifle actually work. These are used to get the trainee used to carrying a weapon around and using it in whatever training is taking place. It teaches them about muzzle awareness and overall weapon safety, so aside from its tactical training implications, it’s just all-around good training.
Ms. Czerwiec didn’t know that, and she was scared. She called the cops. I get that. I do. To someone who doesn’t know what’s going on, that could potentially be very scary. She called the police to report what she saw as a threat to safety. I can’t knock her for that. I will, however, knock her for her later response.
After she called the authorities, they got back to her and told her that the ROTC cadets would be conducting similar training in the area for the next few weeks, essentially letting her know it wasn’t a big deal. She then freaked the fuck out.
So I reply that I guess I’ll be calling 911 for the next couple weeks—and I will. Every time,” Ms. Czerwiec wrote. “It’s not my job to decide whether people carrying guns at school are an actual threat. It’s my job to teach and to get home to my family.
“It’s already highly inappropriate to conduct unnecessary military maneuvers in the middle of the quad. But with school shootings on the increase and tensions at UND running high, it’s especially irresponsible,” she argued. “We’re already under financial and emotional attack. We don’t need to feel under physical attack, too.”
Really? That’s unnecessary, ma’am. If you’re so concerned with public safety, you shouldn’t be clogging up the emergency dispatch system. Just chill, okay?
Now the school says it will be notifying the entire campus prior to ROTC training exercises, as well as letting Ms. Czerwiec know personally. I’ve heard some schools already do this, either via emails or putting up signs around the training area, so this isn’t really anything new. I’m not mad about this at all. There are a lot of people on college campuses who might get shaken up by the sight of uniformed people carrying what appear to be fully-functioning rifles around. If this is what it takes to stop entire campuses from breaking out in panic over standard training, then so be it.
What I don’t like is Ms. Czerwiec’s initial response. You know, the whole “I’ll call 911 every time it happens” thing. Would that really help? I don’t think so. As a stated earlier, it could clog up the dispatch system and prevent first responders from getting to the scenes of real emergencies. Moreover, it could even cause a “Boy Who Cried Wolf” situation. If the authorities get a call every week that armed men in camouflage are running around campus, how likely are they to take it seriously? Then if something actually bad does happen, say an active shooter scenario, would response time be longer? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know. What I do know is that ROTC is a great training program, that these cadets were doing absolutely nothing wrong, and that this one associate professor needs to take a deep breath and chill..
[via Washington Times]
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