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Saturday, August 8, 2020

Letter to the Editor

To the editor and editorial board of The Western Front,

Several of The Western Front’s recent articles were about campus safety in case of active shooters. Others have been about the safety of the neighborhood from burglars and voyeurs. With the increase in attention given to public safety and the dangers of insecure homes and classrooms, I believe it is time to rethink Western’s weapon policy.

Currently, only law enforcement officers, authorized contractors, or permitted members of U.S. government agencies may carry firearms on campus, according to WAC 516-52-020, which is available to view on Western’s website. I believe that rule should be reexamined with current events in mind and evaluated by professionals to determine whether or not licensed students should be allowed to carry firearms on campus.

If students are to be allowed to carry on campus, proper safety measures should be taken. Mental checks, registry with campus police and demonstration of firearm handling should be prerequisites for students to carry a weapon.

If firearms are still to be restricted, I believe it should be encouraged for students to carry nonlethal self-defense measures such as pepper spray or Tasers. These are easy to use, easy to carry and can serve as a deterrent and defense against burglaries, personal assault or other threats. In any case, self-defense awareness and readiness should be encouraged in order to prevent harm to oneself and one’s property.

People may accuse me and other self-defense advocates as alarmists who contribute to a culture of fear on campus. I believe that the news points to a need for readiness and that it is better to over-prepare than to underprepare. Instead of a culture of fear on campus, I advocate for a culture of empowerment and preparedness.



John Simmons


  1. Would like to see a joint venture between WWU and a Mini-mill (Bellingham Waterfront)

    I would like to propose the development of a mini-steel rolling mill on the former GP property. There are a lot of scrap cars that have been exported to China to be melted into new steel. New steel mill technology uses electric furnaces to re-melt scrap. The problem is automotive scrap is painted, and mixed with various types of plastic. This material burns and caused pollution. Why not utilize the environmental training available at WWU to engineer and operate the pollution control portion of the mill? The operation could be a joint venture, and students from Western could work in a proactive manner to detect and develop the means to control emissions. One of the major gripes about the teaching of environmental science, is that it is normally utilized to control or limit industry. If environmental science was taught in the work environment, perhaps the students would get a greater grasp of the need to work to solve problems, rather than just work to penalize polluters. The steel industry in this country has been destroyed by foreign competition. End users of steel can no longer compete with foreign manufacturers because of the cost of importing foreign steel. The answer to this is to set up micro steel mills to serve local needs. Perhaps the Port of Bellingham could assist in setting up this venture. Thanks, Bill


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