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To the State of Michigan, balancing freedom and security in the wake of tragedy

On Wednesday afternoon, Ally Anderson, a senior, stopped in front of the Rock, silently paying her respects to the students who were killed before she left campus and returned home to Danville, Ky. The message advocating for concealed carry had already been repainted.

“I think it’s really numb at the moment,” Ms. Anderson said. “It seems there are so many guns already, that if they had helped, we would have been safe.”

Sarah Forsyth, 18, a freshman studying communications, was in her dorm room Monday night when she learned of the campus shooting. She felt safe there, she said, because a student card is required to enter each floor of the dormitory.

But other parts of the campus, such as the student union and classroom buildings, are generally open to the public, Ms. Forsyth said.

“Before all of this happened, I never felt like there was any security threat or anything like that,” he said. “I felt very safe on campus.”

David Carter, a Michigan State professor and police expert, said that American college campuses in general are still extraordinarily safe places and that restricting access was both impractical and antithetical to the open spirit of universities.

“If we have completely secure buildings in a university, that seems to undermine our academic freedom and the freedom and thinking we want,” he said. “You’re dealing with adults, not schoolchildren. They have their own inherent freedoms.

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