Personally, P&J would rather have had any amateur security force wait for the real deal to show up before wading into what could have been a deadly mess. And at URI, P&J have a particular interest in the outcome of the debate. Jorge is a former URI student who received an Alumni Excellence Award for Public Service a few years back, and Phillipe has been working on both the Kingston and Narragansett Bay campuses for 15-plus years.
In our hastily-assembled focus group of former state troopers and ex-military folks who have seen all sides of the issue in real life, a key point was repeatedly raised: campus personnel should never be given a gun unless they have had full Rhode Island police academy training — including a psychiatric profile. As is the case in the academy, if you don't pass that brain-game litmus test, you are never, ever going to be using a gun on behalf of State U.
If URI could give that kind of assurance to its students, staff, faculty, and the general public, P&J doubt there would be much protest. But that guarantee better be ironclad and fully vetted or they are opening the door to disaster.
LADD SCHOOL LESSONS
Indie films have been made for decades in The Biggest Little; they're part of the great artistic landscape here. And among the more prominent local independent filmmakers to emerge from that earlier film/video scene is Jim Wolpaw, best known for his 1992 feature, Complex World. Jim was also nominated for an Academy Award in 1985 for his documentary Keats and His Nightingale: A Blind Date. It was, of course, a very good thing that Jim took up filmmaking since, prior to that, he was known as the worst bartender in the history of the earliest incarnation of Lupo's.
His latest project is a feature-length documentary called Best Judgment: Ladd School Lessons, produced in association with Advocates in Action Rhode Island, a self-advocacy organization for individuals with developmental disabilities. (Jorge had a chance to work with Jimmy Isom, along with Joe Potenza, John Juxo, and a few others, to provide some of the film's music.)
"This film brings a unique perspective as it examines the history of the Joseph H. Ladd Center through the eyes of its former residents," the film's website explains. Jim's co-director is Bob Macaux, a young man with Down syndrome, and most of the crew on the film are also former Ladd School residents.
As with many challenging and adventurous projects, the film is still a "work in progress," in need of further financial support. In 2010, the filmmakers received a grant from the Rhode Island Council on the Humanities. They are currently applying for several other grants and looking for other funding opportunities.
But you have an opportunity take a look at what has been assembled so far at screenings and panel presentations on May 15 from 6:30-8 pm at the Harris Public Library in Woonsocket and May 23 at the Barrington Public Library, also at 6:30 pm.
The web site for Best Judgment is laddfilm.com and if you're interested in sponsoring their work or have any questions or comments, the filmmakers ask that you send them an email. Or, if you or someone you know has a connection with the Ladd Center, they'd also love to hear from you.