Bainbridge College Lockdown: Gun Violence at Fault, Debate Reignited

bainbrdigeThe story of the Bainbridge College lock down in 2010 continues to raise issues about gun violence and the proper procedures for what steps should be taken. Although over three years old, this incident still ignites heated debate as to what course of action should be taken by the community.

There are nearly 4,000 students that attend Bainbridge College, although the number that live on campus is considerably less.

What Happened that Night

On October 13th, 2010, four teens burglarized a home in Bainbridge Georgia and then fled to the nearby Bainbridge College which prompted a full lockdown. The incident started as a straight home burglary with the teens entering a home whose occupants had stepped out. However, before they could lift much in the way of property, the homeowner Curtis Keaton returned to his property and caught them in the act.

Keaton reported that the burglars were targeting his big screen TV and grabbing other electronics as well. At the time, Keaton was not aware that the burglars were armed when he saw them exiting his bathroom window. When Keaton hit one of the suspects, a gun fell from the thief’s hand. All four of the thieves headed into the woods and ran towards the Bainbridge campus.

Keaton called 911 which subsequently notified the authorities at Bainbridge College who in turn locked down the campus. Eventually, two of the burglars were found in the woods with a third located inside a dumpster. The fourth burglar was not found or arrested at that time.

The disruption of the campus caused by the lock down paled to the concerns about what would have happened if the burglars had reached the campus and felt the need to use their weapons.

The Lessons of Bainbridge

The town of Bainbridge, Georgia is roughly 13,000 and the city itself is located in the southwest corner of the state bordering Florida. The 2010 crime rate for Bainbridge revealed 143 burglaries were reported for that year, a statistic that has dropped compared in comparison to the previous five year period. Violent crime has remained relatively steady in the town over the years as well.

However, the report of the story raised important concerns for both students and parents at the college. The fact that the burglars were armed and heading towards the campus brought forth images of the Virginia Tech slayings in 2007 which demonstrated just how vulnerable students, faculty and staff can be in a campus setting.

Weighing into the controversy is the balance of concerns between the relatively rarity of violent crimes compared to the vulnerability of the student population. The lockdown procedure, which a strong response, does at least have the intention of getting students out of harms way for incidents such as the 2010 burglary.

The debate over the Bainbridge College lock down with the discussion of the use of firearms has certainly not been settled. While various gun control laws and actions have certainly been discussed, the fact that the incident itself never reached the campus and the intention of the burglars has also been fodder for both camps as well. Stories like this are what reignite the debate on whether or not guns should be available. Banning guns would not only affect personal rights, but entire industries and professions as well as educational paths.