Unarmed Security Guards Are College's Response to Shootings and Assaults: 'Band-Aid Solution'


The best answer to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a phone making minimum wage.

At least, that appears to be the thinking behind last week’s decision by the University of Washington to have two unarmed security guards patrolling a two-block area just west of the university’s School of Law for 10 hours each weekend.

They won’t be armed, but don’t worry — they’ll have training. And phones with which to call the Seattle Police Department if they need to.

“They are trained in de-escalation and intervention and can directly communicate with SPD, as needed,” a UW spokesperson told KING-TV.

If I were an unarmed guard in an area that was recognized as needed additional security, I’d want some training in de-escalation, too.

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As for the ability to “directly communicate with SPD, as needed,” I have that in my office in North Carolina. Anyone with a phone can “directly communicate with SPD, as needed,” and since the spokesperson apparently offered no specifics regarding what that communication might look like, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume these two unarmed officers will communicate with SPD the same way I would — by calling 911 on my cellphone.

Seattle police had already added “emphasis patrols” after four people were shot and one run over in two separate shootings in the area.

I’m not sure what an “emphasis patrol” is. Maybe the patrol cars have exclamation points on them?

To protect! And to serve!

Do you think unarmed security guards will solve the problem?

I hope that’s not it. The last time I was in Seattle — and I admit, it’s been a while — the city police drove Carolina blue police cars. I’m pretty sure you can’t fight crime in a Carolina blue police car.

At any rate, none of the above seems very reassuring to me, but then again, I don’t attend UW or know anyone who does. Perhaps the students there are thrilled with the new show of, um … showmanship.

“It does feel like a band-aid solution,” UW student Lakshin Kumar told KING-TV. “There are issues that haven’t been solved in decades, not a new occurrence of violent crimes happening.”

Oh. I guess they’re not thrilled.

Local pub owner Jen Goyner sounded a little more optimistic, however.

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“It’s great to have a lot more security or police presence, but when you get down to it, we’re not a tiny little small town,” Goyner said.

I agree — a lot more security or police presence is just what the doctor ordered. I’m not sure that the addition of two unarmed security guards from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights fits that description, however.

And, for the record, that snide comment earlier about these guards making minimum wage — currently $14.49 in Washington — was just that, a snide comment. I don’t know what these guards are being paid.

Given what they could be facing and the tools they’ve been provided to face it with, I hope it’s a lot.

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George Upper is the former Editor-in-Chief of The Western Journal and was a weekly co-host of "WJ Live," powered by The Western Journal. He is currently a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. A former U.S. Army special operator, teacher and consultant, he is a lifetime member of the NRA and an active volunteer leader in his church. Born in Foxborough, Massachusetts, he has lived most of his life in central North Carolina.
George Upper, is the former editor-in-chief of The Western Journal and is now a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. He currently serves as the connections pastor at Awestruck Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a former U.S. Army special operator, teacher, manager and consultant. Born in Massachusetts, he graduated from Foxborough High School before joining the Army and spending most of the next three years at Fort Bragg. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in English as well as a Master's in Business Administration, all from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He and his wife life only a short drive from his three children, their spouses and his grandchildren. He is a lifetime member of the NRA and in his spare time he shoots, reads a lot of Lawrence Block and John D. MacDonald, and watches Bruce Campbell movies. He is a fan of individual freedom, Tommy Bahama, fine-point G-2 pens and the Oxford comma.
Foxborough, Massachusetts
Beta Gamma Sigma
B.A., English, UNCG; M.A., English, UNCG; MBA, UNCG
North Carolina
Languages Spoken
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Faith, Business, Leadership and Management, Military, Politics