My class was canceled on Wednesday, which apparently gave me time to go to the theater...so to speak.
I find out my class isn't canceled after I had already gotten to school, so I take the opportunity to check my e-mail. On a whim I check my RIC e-mail, which I rarely do, and see that there is an open forum being held that day by the RIBGHE (Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education). The forum is to discuss the possibility of arming the security guards on campus.
dun Dun DUN!!!
My first thought is "this should be entertaining". I suppose this was my theatre side talking. For some reason I thought that this had the possibility of being very theatrical. I was right.
I head down to the forum and one of the first things I do is take out my journal. I recently received this journal from Jamie as a Christmas gift and I try and use it for when creative ideas come to me. There are a lot of notes for a book Jamie and I are trying to work on, ideas for sketches, poems, and other things of the sort. I figured I was sitting in on a gold mine of ideas, or at least I would be observing some great stuff.
The forum started with the board welcoming everyone and providing us with some statistics from the past several years. They were also making some things clear concerning the meeting. They weren't going to talk during this meeting. The point was to record testimonies and gather the opinions of the school members. Everyone speaking would have five minutes.
I ended up being one of those speakers. My only problem was that I had to decide whether I was "pro" or "con". In reality, I was still on the fence. I don't have a problem with them being armed or not. I would prefer that they use non-lethal weapons, which the board said that they were considering. Seeing that I didn't think the subject should just be dismissed, I spoke for the "pro" group. My main points were that we can't decide this based on what we are afraid of, we should give the guards a big say on things, and that if the guards can do the best that they can without weapons, let's leave it, but if not we should perhaps consider arming them. Not necessarily the argument for the "pro" side, but it was the truth.
There were a few other students that spoke were all on the "con" side, although there were only three other students. Apparently the word about the meeting didn't get out soon enough. While they all made valid points and had reasonable arguments, two of the students didn't really represent their side well. One of them, a woman, was upset because there was no one on from the school on the board and that there was no women there. While I can guess why that can be upsetting, the thing is that the board was composed mostly of state officials. These are elected officials being placed in as opposed to a board being put together. There would have been a woman if one was voted into one of the positions.
That didn't get to me as much as the next guy.
Completely nuts. Started his argument yelling. "I am disgusted that this is even being discussed." Uh...good morning! If it wasn't being discussed you wouldn't have a say at all, so try to choke down that vomit, guy. There were many parts of his argument that weren't so much facts as they were conspiracy theories. "If this happens, tuition is going to go up, students who graduate won't get jobs to pay it off, and they will commit suicide!!!"
Another interesting phrase was that "this is a militarization of our school". Um...no, not really. A militarization would be something along the lines of everyone wearing uniforms, learning similar things among our specialties, and so on. Something like, oh, I don't know, the military? Hmmm. Another annoying factor was that every time he said something "smart", his friends would snap their fingers like beatniks. Yes, because the audible snapping is much more discreet than the just as audible clapping. I hope the stenographer didn't have type them all in.
The worst was that nearly everyone was assuming that arming of the guards meant guns. If they listened before hand, they would have heard that non-lethal was being considered. But I suppose people with their own agendas don't really listen to others often. Not to mention everything that was being said was based on being afraid of something, which I had guessed would happen.
The experience continued today when I saw a sign on the doors of one of the buildings. It said that "now the board of governors wants to give the guards the ability to shoot people". Sounds like a statement from someone who has no idea what the guards are there for.
What can I say except that it was a very interesting experience. I guess I shouldn't have expected too much less from such a, if you will excuse the pun, loaded subject. Now I just have to be on the lookout for the students from the "con" side so they don't beat me down...non-violently, of course.