CNN's Pereira: 'Are Many Regretting' Keeping Oregon College a Gun-Free Zone?

On Friday's New Day on CNN, as former Umpqua Community College president Joe Olson appeared as a guest to discuss yesterday's mass shooting, after noting that last year the college, under Olson's administration, decided not to allow on-campus security guards to have guns, CNN co-host Michaela Pereira asked whether people there are "regretting" that decision now. Pereira:

Well, I understand that there was a real moment of debate on your campus last year. We know that you have security personnel on your campus, but that there was a debate -- a heated, tough debate -- about whether to arm the security personnel on the campus of Umpqua Community College.

And the school opted to not do that. Give us a little insight. And do you think that there are many regretting that now?

After Olson recalled that he had decided to continue the gun ban after the faculty, staff and students were evenly divided on the issue, the CNN host followed up:

How do you feel about that decision now?

Without acknowledging the possibility that a potential gunman might have been deterred from even showing up if he had known he might have faced armed opposition immediately, Olson stuck to a liberal line and rationalized the gun ban as the "right decision":

JOE OLSON: I think it was the right decision. You know, when a shooter comes to a campus, if you will, he or she is going to do whatever amount of damage or carnage they can do in the first three to five minutes.

MICHAELA PEREIRA: Mm-hmm.

OLSON: So, whether or not there's an armed security person there are not, really, I don't think prevents that person from doing what they intend to do.

Notably, as CNN correspondent Ana Cabrera appeared shortly after 6:00 a.m. and again after 7:00 a.m., in both appearances she hinted that making the campus a "gun-free zone" had made it more difficult to stop the gunman, making them dependent on a quick arrival by the police for protection. At 7:04 a.m. Cabrera related:

Now, the sheriff praising some heroic actions of the two officers who were the first to arrive within minutes of those 911 calls. And when you think about that this is normally a gun-free college -- we've learned that there were no armed security officers on campus at the time -- you think about the ammunition, the number of guns this shooter had, it's likely that the responding officers' quick actions may have saved lives.

Below are transcripts of relevant portions of the Friday, October 2, New Day on CNN:

6:02 a.m.

ANA CABRERA:, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And the sheriff praising the heroic actions of two officers who arrived here at the scene within minutes of that first 911 call. Keep in mind this is a normally gun-free zone here at the college. There are no armed security guards or armed officers normally here on campus. And so, given the amount of ammunition, the number of weapons this shooter had, it's likely those responding officers may have prevented this tragedy from becoming even more deadly.

7:04 a.m.

ANA CABRERA:  Now, the sheriff praising some heroic actions of the two officers who were the first to arrive within minutes of those 911 calls. And when you think about that this is normally a gun-free college -- we've learned that there were no armed security officers on campus at the time -- you think about the ammunition, the number of guns this shooter had, it's likely that the responding officers' quick actions may have saved lives.


7:48 a.m.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CO-HOST: Well, I understand that there was a real moment of debate on your campus last year. We know that you have security personnel on your campus, but that there was a debate -- a heated, tough debate -- about whether to arm the security personnel on the campus of Umpqua Community College. And the school opted to not do that. Give us a little insight. And do you think that there are many regretting that now?

JOE OLSON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF UMPQUA COMMUNITY COLLEGE: You know, I can't speak to that, whether or not people regret it. It was my decision to begin the debate because on campus, you know, we try and have an environment where people can express their own opinion, and it was absolutely, you know, split right down the middle-

PEREIRA: Interesting.

OLSON: -50-50, in terms of whether or not we should have armed security officers or whether we should have unarmed security officers. And it was my decision based on, you know, the input that I took from faculty and staff and students not to have armed security.

PEREIRA: How do you feel about that decision now?

OLSON: I think it was the right decision. You know, when a shooter comes to a campus, if you will, he or she is going to do whatever amount of damage or carnage they can do in the first three to five minutes.

PEREIRA: Mm-hmm.

OLSON: So, whether or not there's an armed security person there are not, really, I don't think, prevents that person from doing what they intend to do.

Crime Guns CNN New Day Oregon Michaela Pereira


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