Skylar Simpkins ’23
One of my most vivid memories from visiting Trinity for the first time was when a student nonchalantly informed me about the paintball attacks on campus. I remember being very confused as to why she was so okay with the activity, but once you invest a semester into the Trinity College community, you become okay with it too. When you receive emails reporting an incident, you disregard it. When you hear from a friend that they were hit by a paintball, you merely respond with a couple of quiet laughs. I, for one, feel like this should cease. Students should not have to be concerned about being shot by a paintball when walking home from the cafeteria, but students should not laugh off these incidents as quirky little perks of being a Trinity College student.
I understand how someone could find comedy in these occurrences. The non-fatality of paintballs and the possible thought of “well, at least it isn’t real bullets” should give us a slight relief, but what if these shooters upgrade to ball-bearing guns? Are we okay with this non-fatal weapon? Students at Trinity should not have to worry about walking across Allen for fear of being paintballed or bb’d. Our physiological mechanisms will react in the same way whether we hear a paintball bullet or an actual fatal bullet. Maybe these students are only suffering from bruises, but the fear from the activation of their sympathetic nervous system will affect some students much more strongly than others. The vulnerability of being shot is pertinent whether or not the perpetrators are using real bullets.
Trinity College needs to step up its game to end these paintball incidents. Campus Safety should stand guard at times and places paintball attacks are likely to occur. They should accurately report the details of the car(s) to proper authorities and maintain persistence that these incidents are not merely looked over but stopped.
We as students should do some things as well. Firstly, we should stay safe by walking on the illuminated interior paths of campus. More importantly, we need to change our mentality. We cannot just laugh off these incidents as youths being youths. We must define how our society should act and hold it to those standards. Students should not feel like being hit by a paintball is one of the traditions of going to Trinity College on our Hartford campus. We cannot just let these incidents occur with no protest; instead, we should show the school our support in preventing future attacks. If no one defines how society should act, we will no longer have a safe society.