The words every parent dreads when a child goes off to college: “Mom, Dad. My school is on lockdown for an active shooter.” I’ve told my parents this twice now. 

Violence has become a regular occurrence in my three years at The Catholic University of America, acronymized as CUA. 

Last week, CUA issued a shelter-in-place order because a 14-year-old was shot and killed at the campus Metro station. The arrested suspect was 17.

A social studies teacher was mugged, shot, and killed on my campus last July. A large blood stain was left where he died for days afterward, a friend who was on campus at the time said. 

CUA locked down last April because of a “swatting” scam. This is where a bad actor makes a fake 911 call claiming an active shooter was on campus. Thus, police SWAT teams are called and respond despite no actual threat. 

I was in class at the time; classmates volunteered to sit in front of the doors to block them. I am grateful that it was a false alarm. 

Screenshot of an email sent by CUA through RAVE on April 13, 2023, at 10:10 a.m. 

Last May, in the neighborhood adjacent to campus, a man confessed to killing and beheading a handyman. 

In freshman year, I saw gang violence firsthand. Waiting for a Metro train at the campus station, I saw two men beating each other until one jumped on a train. The other’s face was dripping in blood from what seemed like a broken nose. He called someone on a cell phone and screamed about needing a ski mask so people wouldn’t recognize him. 

The Catholic University of America sends alerts to the student body whenever a crime is reported in the area surrounding campus. To the credit of CUA, it updates students as much as possible. That said, I see that muggings, carjackings, shootings, and other violent crimes occur mere blocks away from my dorm almost weekly. 

My school is in Washington, D.C. In a city with such strict gun laws, you would expect safer streets. You can’t open carry a firearm in the District of Columbia; the city requires universal background checks and bans “assault weapons.”   

The elected government of the nation’s capital doesn’t support the “castle doctrine” of a person’s right to defend his own home. In D.C., there is a “duty to retreat.” 

If the city’s gun laws are working, how is it that I have had to hide twice because of active shooters? 

Crime in the District has been on the rise. I wrote about it last year for my school newspaper. Violent crime jumped 23% from February 2022 to February 2023. Assaults, muggings, and carjackings have gone up.  

The increase in carjackings last year prompted D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, to give out steering-wheel locks

Leftist billionaire financier George Soros is known for trying to transform America’s criminal justice system by contributing big money to the campaigns of soft-on-crime candidates for district attorney across the country. Once elected, these liberal DAs have trumped the efforts of so-called diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI.  

However, such efforts come at a serious cost to students like me. Our safety is the price for their progressive policies. 

Violent criminals across the country are receiving reduced sentences if convicted or aren’t being charged at all. 

Recently it was discovered that major cities such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles failed to submit crime data to the FBI.  

An op-ed published in the Washington Examiner and co-written by former Assistant FBI Director Mark Morgan contends that the FBI erred in counting violent crimes: The bureau claims that crime in major cities has gone down, when in fact it has gone up over the past five years. (Morgan, acting chief of U.S. Customs and Border Protection during the Trump administration, is now a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation, parent organization of The Daily Signal.)

An organization cited in the op-ed, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, which collects police data, says homicides in major cities have gone up 23%. The Council on Criminal Justice, a similar organization, estimates that homicide is up 18% and violent crime in general is up 8%.

Matthew Graves, U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, also serves as the local prosecutor in the nation’s capital. An appointee of President Joe Biden, Graves is embroiled in a case stemming from the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, that has caused scandal and division throughout the country. 

Am I supposed to trust that Graves will be tough on crime when it opposes his woke ideals? Am I supposed to trust that he will keep me safe? 

Right now, thousands of parents are preparing their children for college, buying mattress toppers, laptops, and red solo cups. However, the reality is that many students, especially females, also will purchase personal alarms and pepper spray.  

Why is this our reality? It is mostly our own fault.  

We choose our leaders. The government enforces the law only through the consent of the governed. This is good news, though; the political reality is in our hands. We need to call out lawmakers who are soft on crime, take civic action, and stop sitting passively while students of any age are forced to face the underbelly of our nation’s cities.  

Only when we stand up against the woke mob will our cities become safer.