Caught Blue-Handed: Catching a Careless Criminal

Editor’s Note: This piece was written by Evan Llanso of Professor John-Erik Koslosky’s Newswriting course and was edited by Nicholas Kline of Koslosky’s Editing for Journalism course.

Bloomsburg University- A new proposal aims to punish those who pull the fire alarm without reason. Every student has been there. Stressed out from the ebbs and flows of a college semester and in desperate need of a good night’s sleep, only to be awoken by the sound of a blaring fire alarm. It’s no fun, it’s no good, and when the culprit gets away scot-free, it is just not right.

But what if there was a way to prevent them from escaping consequence?

The proposal suggests a way for justice to be served in these cases of senseless behavior. The solution? A built-in ink trap that would release a noticeable blue stain on the hands of whomever decided they wanted to play prankster on that given night.

According to BU CGA VP Jared Harris, he believes the trap works especially well due to the ink’s water activation mechanism. In other words, if a student were to try and wash their hands clean, the ink would only become more evident after being exposed to water.

But just like most other dilemmas, there are those who don’t see the issue of fire alarms as something worthy of investment. Harris went on to say that as surprising as it may be, alarms being pulled in non-emergency situations is actually a very prevalent issue.

As stated by Harris, “In my own building of Columbia Hall, within the timeframe of this fall semester, we’ve had four separate events at various hours of the night.”

Another strong case originates from the summer session program, a program that allows incoming freshman to spend a few weeks in the summer on campus to get acclimated with the Husky lifestyle. Harris stated, “The summer academy group in Elwell Hall suffered three instances of false alarms in a single night, and eight overall.”

Concerning the price to install these deterrents, Harris emphasized that “It’s difficult to tell because of how many fire alarms we have throughout campus, but cost of installation should not by any means exceed $1000.”

Although the intentions are of good nature, the idea is not without potential flaws.

One major concern that was brought forward was questions about what happens in the event of actual emergency. The student would still be blasted with the unwashable ink.

In response to this inquiry, Vice President Harris replied that “Unfortunately, there would be no way to avoid ink coverage, but once the actual emergency is discovered, any suspicion of criminal activity would be disregarded.”

Student residents have been divided on the issue. Some believing that a sound sleep at night must be defended at all costs, while others do not feel the same sentiment.

On the side of support for the ink traps, Miss Jill Henderson voiced to “definitely have them installed,” noting the presence of inebriated students who wander the halls at all hours.

Meanwhile from the view of the opposed, Miss Alyssa Lardi was concerned that “They are an unnecessary expenditure of college funds following the recent renovations and new buildings.”

These views were shared by Mr. Jacob Delorme, journalism major, who said, “I think it would be a bad idea due to the instance of an unintentional alarm being triggered, and I would hate to see someone’s clothes or belongings ruined by the ink, in addition to fines for the alarm.”

While there are valid points by those on both sides of this issue, putting an end to intoxicated college students acting a fool is a very tall task.

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