While Paris recovers from the terrorist attacks by ISIS, Chicago officials and law enforcement prepare for the worst. Civil unrest and violence across the globe makes college students anxious about what can happen in the 21st century.
After the terrorist attacks in Paris, Europe went on maximum alert.
Paris, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, was hit by simultaneous terrorist attacks after 9:00 p.m. on Friday Nov. 13, 2015.
The attacks killed more than 129 people and injured 352 more. The terrorist group ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks.
There were six separate, but coordinated, attacks in all: the Jihadist group detonated explosives outside a soccer stadium and used machine guns to target civilians dining at outdoor cafés, in the street, on public balconies, and at a concert.
The day after of these attacks the President of France, Francois Hollande, expressed his outrage. The newspaper Le Parisien echoed Hollande’s sentiment in the blunt headline: “Cette fois, c’est la guerre” – “This time, it’s war.”
Immediately after the attacks, French military forces mobilized, reinforced safety protocols, closed the borders, and took control of the streets.
Systematic border checks have been implemented at all entry points in France.
Paris implemented a three month national state of emergency that encompasses the city and the surrounding area. Public gatherings, drone flights, and the use of fireworks are prohibited. The police have also increased security measures at airports and train stations.
After the events in France, many cities around the world are worried that they too can be a target for a terrorist group like ISIS. Even a city like Chicago can be the target of a terrorist attack.
The 21st Annual Joint Counterterrorism Awareness Workshop took place in Chicago on Nov. 17, 2015.
America’s top counterterrorism experts gathered in the Windy City to discuss hypothetical scenarios of terrorist attacks in Chicago.
Possible scenarios were the main focus in this meeting: shootings, terrorist attacks, bombings, and even a mass casualty event with hundreds dead or injured throughout the city.
The evolution of these types of attacks has changed the way law enforcement needs to respond. The recent attacks in Paris have forced cities to reevaluate their anti-terror policing strategies.
“We can’t use the tactics we used in the past where we surround, contain, talk and try to negotiate. We’re going to be in a combat situation if these things happen,” explained Garry McCarthy, former Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.
Is Chicago actually a possible target for these kinds of situations? And if it is, is the city even ready for these possible scenarios?
“There is no viable threat in the city of Chicago” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
One the speakers described Chicago as a city “rich in soft-targets,” and Robert Pape, a counterterrorism expert from the University of Chicago, said that it all comes down to advance preparation.
Advance preparation is also vital to maintain security on America’s university campuses.
Universities have a long history of battling campus violence. From the 1966 sniper shootings at the University of Texas in 1966 to the mass shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007, college campuses have become sites of violence.
The University of Chicago had its own scare on Nov. 28, 2015. Classes were cancelled on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015 after a mass shooting threat was reported to the FBI and then to the college administration.
The University of Chicago is not alone. On Nov. 16, 2015, buildings were evacuated at Harvard University in response to an emailed bomb threat. Authorities sealed the buildings quickly and made sure it was safe to reopen them for students.
It is natural that events like these and the ones in Paris generate anxiety for students.
CCSJ student Dylan Linkiewicz called the Paris attacks “devastating” and expressed concern about how these attacks might lead people to generalize about the Muslim religion or “label them [Muslims] as terrorists.”
Another CCSJ student, Angeline Cassell also believes that these attacks create a bad situation for Muslim community. She also wonders that if something like this happened at CCSJ or in the surrounding community, would we be ready for it? She claims that “People do not pay attention to what happens around them.”
CCSJ does have safety protocols in place that address hypothetical scenarios such as terrorist attacks or an active shooter situation.
In case of a terrorist attack or an active shooter situation, the best thing to do is to call 911 and report the intruder. Anyone from the CCSJ community can, and should, report any suspicious activity that they observe on campus.
If you see anything out of the ordinary, immediately contact campus security by dialing ext. 355 from a campus phone or you can call the security officer cell phone number: (219) 644-6595.
Gene Kessler, Head of Facilities at CCSJ, explained that “everyone from the school has to be really observant at all times and always ask why something is out of place.”
Kessler is also the one who trained the full-time faculty two years ago about campus emergency procedures.
You can find more information about CCSJ’s emergency plans on the orange flyers posted around campus. Students will find them posted most noticeably in classrooms or hallways.
Page 33 of the Student Handbook also includes additional information about emergency procedures.
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