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Oregon College Shooting

Umpqua Community College Considered Armed Guard, Dismissed Idea

Umpqua student who witnessed shootings: ‘We were all in panic mode’ 3:08

The Oregon college where at least 10 people were killed in a shooting rampage Thursday had in recent months considered hiring an armed security guard — but ultimately decided against the proposal, the retired president said.

“We talked about that over the last year because we were concerned about safety on campus,” Joe Olson, who retired as president of Umpqua Community College at the end of June, told The New York Times. “The campus was split 50-50. We thought we were a very safe campus, and having armed security officers on campus might change the culture.”

Olson, a former deputy sheriff in Massachusetts, said the discussion about an armed guard had not been prompted by a particular threat. But he said there was a general fear of potential violence. He told the Times he did not believe a guard could stop a gunman.

"If you want to come on the campus and you want to shoot five people, you are going to do that before our security would arrive," he told the newspaper.

Related: Oregon Shooting: Umpqua Gunman Chris Harper Mercer — What We Know

In an op-ed published in the online edition of the campus newspaper on Nov. 5, 2014, a student weighed the pros and cons of the proposal.

"In my opinion, that scenario will do more harm than good because it creates a very powerful position for one guard, while other guards lack the same protection should they be presented with the same situation," Haley Stammen wrote.

"Guns are very dangerous, even with users who have years of experience and training; misfires happen or guns end up in the wrong hands," Stammen continued. "These risks are very real and are heavy on the hearts of our community right now."

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