Temple Shooting a Part of a Larger Pattern


This article contains Political Commentary

Sarah Hanlon, Staff

On Nov. 28, a Temple senior was shot and killed in broad daylight, just off the university’s North Philadelphia campus. At approximately 1:30 p.m., 21-year-old Samuel Collington parked an SUV at 2252 North Park Avenue and began to unload it after a trip to his family’s home in Prospect Park, Delaware County. Video evidence shows that a suspect approached the vehicle in an attempted robbery. After a struggle, Collington was shot twice in the chest. He was taken to nearby Temple University Hospital, where he died of his injuries.

Collington was a political science major, set to graduate this Spring. He was an active member of the Philadelphia community, and was working an internship as a Democracy Fellow at City Commissioner Omar Sabir’s office. The Collington family held a vigil to commemorate their son on Dec. 6. Temple is offering support for their students through the university’s Tuttleman Counseling Services.

Mayor Jim Kenney released a statement Sunday night. Kenney referred to the shooting as a case of “bad things happening to good people,” and reiterated the city’s focus on the gun violence epidemic.

The murder of an innocent college student sparked outrage in the Philadelphia area and rocked the Temple community. However, this is yet another example of the violence that holds a grip on the city. Philadelphia is experiencing its deadliest year on record, with at least 506 homicides in 2021 so far.

Collington’s murder happened just two weeks after 18-year-old Ahmir Jones was shot and killed on the 1700 block of Cecil B. Moore, also near Temple’s campus. On Nov. 16, Jones, a Pottstown High School senior, was walking with his girlfriend when two men attempted to rob them at 2:15 a.m. The men took the girl’s cellphone, then shot Jones in the chest.

Temple University and the Philadelphia Police both responded to Jones’ murder by increasing security patrols in key areas around and on campus. However, increased patrols did not deter the person who killed Collington.

Philadelphia’s rise in gun violence is not unique to this city. Unfortunately, a study by the Council on Criminal Justice estimates that homicides in United States cities increased by 30 percent from 2019 to 2020, and again by nine percent from 2020 through the first three quarters of 2021.

Politicians in cities across the country are responding to the violence by increasing funding for police forces. This comes one year after protesters nationwide called for cities to “defund the police” and re-allocate resources towards social welfare programs.

There is no definitive answer to explain the rise in gun violence across America. Some researchers point to socioeconomic strain caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Gun sales, thus the number of guns on the streets, spiked during the pandemic. Psychological stress and poor economic outlook, both effects of the pandemic, are linked to root causes of criminal behavior. 

Other researchers suggest that the spike in gun violence is due to social unrest following the murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. Inequality and social disruption are linked to criminal behavior, and cities across the United States experienced a similar uptick in gun violence following the shootings of Michael Brown and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014. However, the exact causes of crime are complex, long-acting sociological issues that cannot be definitively proven, especially in the short-term.

Students across Philadelphia are weary following the violence at Temple. Students have the right to feel safe on their campuses. However, it is important to remember that Philadelphia residents also have the right to feel safe in their own neighborhoods.

Gun violence affects people of all races and ethnicities, but it disproportionately harms communities of color, especially Black neighborhoods. Based on a report by the Philadelphia Police Department, Black men accounted for 73 percent of all gun homicides in 2019. When Black women were added, Black Philadelphians accounted for 85 percent of all gun homicide deaths for that year, even though they account for 43 percent of the city’s demographic makeup (Everytown Research, 2021).

Temple University’s undergraduate population is 56 percent white and 12 percent Black. La Salle University’s undergraduate population is 54 percent white and 17 percent Black.

With the city experiencing a record-breaking homicide rate, college students should be aware of crime near their campuses. No one thinks they will be a victim of a crime until it happens to them. However, students must respond with outrage to all gun violence in the city, not just the homicides near their schools.

Can women safely exist in our society?


Kylie McGovern, Editor

Header image: Philly Voice

A few weeks ago I began to ponder the different newsworthy things I had heard about in recent days both at La Salle and the greater area of Philadelphia. What came to mind made me sick: the news about a woman who was raped while riding on a SEPTA Market-Frankford train at the 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby. There is immense controversy about whether there were bystanders who took cell phone videos without calling the police or physically intervening but, frankly, my greater concern is the fact that a woman cannot ride public transportation without fear of literally being sexually assaulted. 

I know that I, among other La Salle students, use SEPTA frequently. This injustice that occurred to this woman shakes me to my core. I am frankly disgusted that we live in a world where women cannot even travel on or use resources like SEPTA without being endangered. I fear for my female classmates, my friends, my sisters, my aunts, my mother and my grandmothers who all use SEPTA. I am disgusted that females cannot even exist without being hurt.

This issue is bigger than just SEPTA. The world does not protect its women. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “most cases of femicide are committed by partners or ex-partners, and involve ongoing abuse in the home, threats or intimidation, sexual violence or situations where women have less power or fewer resources than their partner.” Furthermore, in a survey reported by the BBC, a third of respondents thought it was acceptable for men to hit their partners. These facts further emphasize the vulnerability women face today based on their gender.

A woman should not have to fear taking the train home from work. A woman should not have to fear walking home at night. A woman should not have to fear being talked down to by her coworkers or classmates. A woman should not have to fear seeing her perpetrators walk away unscathed. Women should not fear living, but they do — I walk across 20th street alone fearing being catcalled out of someone’s window and as they drive away laughing, I feel uncomfortable and ashamed.

Now I have to fear taking the train. I am terrified for the women around me and myself. Simply terrified. I am afraid for every woman I either know or do not know. I hope and I pray that this disgusting act of femicide, among the other situations myself and the women I know face every day, will one day disappear.

Why you shouldn’t sleep in the same room as your phone


Elizabeth McLaughlin, Editor

How do you feel when you leave something unfinished? Some may say just a little anxious, others may experience downright despair. A lucky few of us simply feel neutral: “I’ll get to it tomorrow, no need to fret.” But most of us probably don’t feel good when we go to bed knowing that we didn’t finish all that we needed to do.

What’s worse than that feeling? Seeing it manifested in tiny, red, numbered bubbles plastered all over our phone screens. You have: 3 unread emails, 65 unread texts, 18 Snapchats, 7 Canvas announcements, and a whole lot of dread…or at least I do at the moment. Never has there been a time in human history in which we have been more consciously made aware of our unfinished business. That fact alone is anxiety inducing, even for those of us who are quick to clean up our inboxes at the earliest opportunity. Many of us have an obsessive relationship with clearing our notifications; I have an unwritten rule for myself that my Outlook inbox has to be attended to as quickly as possible, at any hour of the day. The other day, I found myself performing the mundane, rote ritual of clearing out my Gmail of all the quotidian branded messages I get from various companies. I took a moment to recognize the anxiety attached to my habits, and took an oath to change for the better.

Office Sign Company

It is worthwhile to establish a cell phone-free zone in your daily life.

In a sense, we are slaves to our notifications. They demand our attention and remain in the corners of our minds, begging to be resolved, ad nauseam. I can’t think of anything more tiring than going to bed with the knowledge that I have so many unfinished tasks; tasks which await my attention as soon as I wake up. That is why I no longer sleep with my phone in my room. By eliminating the opportunity to be reminded of messages which require my attention, I’ve created a more peaceful space for myself.

In fact, I’ve modified my relationship with my phone in more ways than one. I don’t bring my phone with me to the dinner table (I never did, shoutout to mom and dad for that one), but I also don’t bring it to my desk when I’m doing work, or sometimes when I’m hanging with friends. I prefer to maintain a much bigger distance from my phone than I had in the past and it has served me well. These days, I wake up and begin to lean into my day alone, without the presence of pesky notifications or posts from others. Then, I make the choice to go downstairs and check my phone when I’m ready. If, overnight, a friend or family member texted me, I’m much more eager to respond than I would have been had I been consciously aware of their message for hours on end.

By cutting the leash between my phone and me, I’ve significantly reduced my anxiety. I no longer feel like I need to lug around this hunk of junk with me wherever I go. When I do decide to take my phone out, it’s for a purpose that serves me and enhances my day. By breaking up with listless scrolling, I’ve crafted a more meaningful life. By leaving my phone downstairs when I go to bed, I can blissfully pretend, at least for a few hours, that I exist in an era untouched by smart-phone-induced anxiety. By choosing when to use my phone and when to leave it at home, I’m choosing a more enjoyable life.

So tonight, I invite you to leave your phone alone; be alone with your thoughts. There is no rule that you have to check every notification, every app, all the time. A smartphone is only smart after you examine your relationship with it; after you unlearn codependence in favor of balance. I promise, those little red bubbles (unfortunately) aren’t going anywhere.