As I sat at my office this afternoon, enjoying the serene view of summer out my window, what should I hear today but an air raid siren. Of course, what else would you hear in rural Connecticut this time of year?
It turns out that they were testing the air raid sirens to see if even worked and, if so, could they be heard throughout campus? The answer, I can assure you, is "yes" and "yes".
They haven't used these sirens for many, many years, and so I imagine they had to call somebody who retired long ago to even find out where the darn things are.
Why would they care about the sirens? Well, whereas in the 1950s, we feared be bombed by the Russians (and post-Coldwar documents have shown Storrs to be a priority in the communists bombing plans), now we worry about Virginia Tech type shootings. You see, these sirens are to alert people of when (certainly not just "if") such shootings will happen.
A friend who is in campus administration (and still remarkably sensible) told me that after the VT massacre, UConn officials were asked by various parties what they were going to do to prevent such an event here. At the time, there wasn't any obvious solution... students are already prohibited from having guns on campus. I suppose that somebody had to do something, so now we have air raid sirens to listen for.
What better way to deter this type of crime than blaring a loud siren... maybe students who flip out with guns also gain sensitivity to loud noises. "I would start ranting and shoot you all, but... oh, my ears."