Essentially, colleges across the United States are getting millions of dollars of gratuitous advanced military-grade weaponry every year; though technically there is no concrete data available to the public regarding weapon specifics, an even more concerning prospect. The equipment ranging from M-16’s to grenade launchers to armored vehicles is available for campus use. However, if the need arose, the equipment could also be used by the local community or even regionally.
What is essentially necessary to remedy this issue is a holistic understanding of the extent of armaments available and possessed by each specific college campus. What is most alarming is the fact that this vital information is not standardized in a publicly accessible format. In further work, a creation of this type of registry, a compilation of the locations where military-grade weapons are stored, protected, and possibly used, would benefit the public and the creation of a possible solution. This can be initialized with a deeper investigation into the levels of armament and protocols for use specified by the College of William & Mary’s campus police force. Until a full understanding is reached, it is difficult to comprehend the actual severity of the issue and how to approach a solution.
While this allocation seems like a boon for all parties, without proper training and even more importantly, without proper regulation and security controls, these military allocations raise more concerns than provide security. Furthermore, there may be little use for a grenade launcher at a campus altercation. This leads to an even bigger issue: does the United States military industrial complex have too much time and money on its hands? In the constant battle to “carry a bigger stick,” are we perpetuating a society defined by a “more is better” mentality?
Although the possession of militarized weaponry in college campuses seems wasteful and could be a possible safety concern, in reality weapons harbored in secure lockers are not blatantly endangering students or college campuses. Their existence simply shows the tendency of the United States bureaucracy to encourage excess levels of weaponry, revealing a disturbing conclusion about the U.S. military industrial complex. It provides people a false sense of security even though these weapons are not in use; ultimately, building up machinery isn’t the answer. The buildup takes focus off of necessary training and diminishes respect for the treatment of these weapons. There is a psychological effect on society and our government; it promotes the idea that if we build more weaponry, we are naturally safer, no matter how we use it. But how effective is the possession of something that is not properly used or even taken for granted? While we need to further explore how and why our military uses these volumes of weapons, the more important issue is the training of professionals to save people, not storing guns away in lockers.