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Monday, April 30, 2007

The power of words

An interesting article from the Boston Globe contains the following two paragraphs:
Although Seung-Hui Cho killed himself before police could reach him, his killing of 32 students and professors April 16 raised a disturbing question for those who live or work on a campus with unarmed police: What if someone on their campus went on a shooting spree? What could campus police do?

The answer, according to law enforcement protocol, is nothing -- except to call for backup from city police. The batons and mace that unarmed police typically carry would be useful in the face of a gunman.
I think the last sentence is missing a word.

It's also more broadly incorrect. Many campuses have police forces with standard police powers (mine does, and it's a small regional campus of a state university).
At my current school, our police are armed and have standard police powers as well. At my alma mater the police were armed and many were students.
Well, the typo leaves the sentence accidentally correct. Short-range weapons (and mace) are more useful when deployed in the face of a gunman than they would be in the hands of an officer thirty yards away.
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