Random Campus Tragedies are Painful
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Jun 01, 2017
An active shooter on campus
has no rhyme or reason.
When something stupid like
this happens, everyone’s first
question is: Why? Followed
by: What was the motive?
I say there is never a good reason for this
kind of social misbehavior.
Last month, an active shooter incident
occurred at North Lake College in Irving,
Texas. We know this is not the first time an
event like this has happened on a college
campus—probably not the last. A little too
late, but the Dallas County Community College
District will now beef up security.
Janeera Nickol Gonzalez was gunned
down while attending classes on May 3. It
was later reported that the gunman had been
stalking her for quite a while. She didn’t
make anything of it, thinking the stalker
Sadly, this was not true. Her parents, Lucia
and Juan Gonzalez were concerned when
their daughter failed to return text messages,
especially after local news reported a shooting
at the college she attended. Someone
other than Janeera knew this was happening,
and it would seem, didn’t heed all the warning
Some people on campus saw the entire
murder-suicide scene unfold. Witnesses say
that the gunman, Adrian Victor Torres,
walked up to Janeera and yelled, “You know
who I am and you know why I’m here.” He
shot her three times.
It is difficult, at best, to secure the open
environment of a higher education campus.
For all the protection that the University of
Texas at Austin provides its students, staff
and employees, a man wielding a hunting
knife was no match for any security system
the first week in May.
Harrison Brown, a freshman from Graham,
Texas, was in the right place, attending
school at UT, but at the wrong time when
Kendrix J. White randomly stabbed him and
several other students as he “calmly walked
around campus.” UT Austin Police Chief
David Carter said that the suspect may have
been “suffering from mental health issues,”
and had recently been involuntarily committed
and later released in another city.
Security is such a necessary component
to our daily lives. Harrison’s last thoughts
were of his mother, asking that he be able to
speak to her before he died.
“His family and our community will
never be able to hear Harrison play [music]
and sing again and, for this, our hearts are
breaking and we are deeply, deeply saddened,”
said university president Gregory L.
Fenves.“It was an incredibly difficult time for
them—unimaginable,” he said. “Mrs. Brown
talked about her son Harrison and how
much he loved being a Longhorn in his first
I honestly don’t know what the answer to
this puzzle might be. However, I am certain
that proper security procedures on campus,
and off, have likely saved untold number of
people the pain and anguish that follows
when someone with mental health issues has
a weapon of choice in their possession.
It is incumbent upon lawmakers and
campus officials to go beyond the pale of
finding ways and means to secure every corner
of the campus. While cost is a factor, students’
safety is the goal.
This article originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of Security Today.
Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.