Every day students here at Lawrence innocently leave their valuables around campus, trusting them to remain where placed when their owners return, while others leave their doors unlocked. These actions reflect the culture of trust and safety that the majority of Lawrentians experience while on campus. When a theft occurred in the Conservatory last week, our sense of comfort was disrupted.
As students, we’re used to thinking of Appleton as a relatively safe city; and in terms of abhorrent crimes like murder, it is. We have a large police force; school and extracurricular commitments that keep us occupied; and a living arrangement that makes it easy to never leave the campus. Simple distractions obfuscate reality. Lawrence University can, at times, feel immune to crime, an idea that is easy to romanticize to the point of negligence.
Most of us know the people that we pass in hallways, see in class and live down the hall from. Trust is natural in this type of environment and should be prized. We don’t expect these negative events to happen to us, or those we are close to. There’s a civil war in some other country, not the United States. Someone was murdered in Madison, not Appleton. There’s a break-in in some other part of Appleton, but nowhere near Lawrence, of course it isn’t near Lawrence. It could never happen to us.
When it does though, anger and distrust set it. But we can’t let events, no matter how horrible, change us. Trust is founded through cooperation and mutual respect, not the uncontrollable actions of strangers. While some of us may decide to watch our belongings a little more closely in the future, we shouldn’t let that damage our faith in one another. A community isn’t tested through good events, but by its ability to remain resolute despite the bad ones. Whenever something terrible happens to a fellow Lawrentian, they should know: We’re all behind them.