No One Deserves to be Robbed at Gunpoint: Response to an Armed Robbery at Muhlenberg

**This article protects the identities of all victims of the crime which occurred last night, and all student sources. We will not divulge their identities under any circumstances.**

Update 12/19/2017: This article is being re-published in the wake of the Dean of Students' update to the Muhlenberg community on December 18th, 2017. This update confirmed that the armed robbery occurred as a result of a drug deal gone bad. The author of this article does not condone drug dealing or any illegal activity. The intent of this article is to propose another route of discourse for the rhetoric that occurred following the armed robbery on October 24th. 

At this point, it has become common knowledge that students in Benfer Hall were robbed at gunpoint, as a result of a drug deal gone bad (despite the fact that neither Muhlenberg, nor any local publications will acknowledge this). These are the facts which have been relayed to Muhlenberg Her Campus through a variety of anonymous, student sources:

On October 24th, 2017, the unidentified students were dealing weed and invited someone into their dorm to make a purchase. Two male individuals arrived in their Benfer suite and pulled a gun on the students. The gun was apparently not loaded, but this was not known at the time. They asked them to strip, and then proceeded to steal thousands of dollars worth of drugs from them. The attackers fled and the other residents of Benfer were made aware that a robbery occurred at approximately 8:45 pm. The students who were victimized waited to notify the police and campus safety about the incident out of fear. It wasn’t until 9:12 pm, when the crime was already long over, that all Muhlenberg students were made aware of this crime. All students were locked down until 11:17 pm and the attackers were not found.

In the wake of this terrible incident, I have heard rhetoric from students that has disturbed me. They say that these students should be expelled; they are stupid; they are greedy; and, the one I found most alarming...that they deserved to be robbed because they were dealing drugs.

Anyone who says that they cannot imagine a world in which they would deal drugs, is clearly an extremely privileged individual. I am a student who is economically disadvantaged at a school such as Muhlenberg. This, at times, makes me feel like I don’t belong. I am surrounded by people who seem like they have everything in life handed to them on a silver platter. People like me often feel like we need to have a lot of money to be able to fit in with the people at this school.

At Muhlenberg, we foster an environment in which we tell students that a $62,000 education, with good grades and fancy extra-curriculars, will all but ensure their success. For some people, getting that extremely expensive education is an obstacle. I can say that drug dealing does not seem out of the realm of possibility, as someone who grew up in a poor area. If you grew up in a similar atmosphere, you probably know how common it is to turn to drug dealing just to survive. People don’t deal drugs because they are greedy; they do it because they need money that, as a student you can’t find elsewhere. I'm not advocating for drug dealing or saying that these students should have been selling pot. I am just simply acknowledging that there are more complex reasons for this turn to drugs than people assume.

I am a student worker and I work two jobs, 20 hours a week, at minimum wage. I make no more than $600 a month. Student drug dealers have reported that they can make $500-$600 from just selling 5 ounces of weed. When asked why he deals drugs, a student at University of Cincinnati responded,

“There’s a big market for it. Classes and books are expensive, so I guess it offsets the cost a little. We’re not all academic scholars or athletes here on scholarships. And, it’s so much easier than getting a job.”

I also wonder how many of these students, who suddenly have such a problem with drug dealing, have bought drugs from a dealer on campus. If you smoke pot, but are saying that these students deserve it, you really should examine your own hypocrisy and why you feel the need to have such a holier than thou attitude. You are not perfect either.

No one is recognizing the fact that these students are victims. They were threatened with a weapon that had the potential to end their lives. They were so scared to call the police that they waited almost a half hour to notify anyone.If you think that anyone deserves to have a gun pointed at them, you need to do some introspection and figure out why you feel that way. It does not matter that they were dealing drugs. They did not ask to have their lives threatened.

In the days following this incident, have respect and sympathy for your fellow humans.