By Mike Staley – The Collegiate Staff
Wednesday, the nation watched in horror as a shooter terrorized the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Wednesday afternoon, a 19-year-old gunman arrived at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The former student of the school is reported to have pulled fire alarms to draw students out of their classrooms. During the confusion, the shooter began executing this heinous act that killed 17 people and injured an additional 14.
Whenever mass shootings happen, they spark discussions around the country about what needs to be done. The Second Amendment has been a hot-button issue recently, and The Collegiate asked Grand Rapids Community College students what their take on it was.
“I’m torn. I think we should crack down on gun control, but I don’t know how much it will help honestly,” said Anastasia, 19, of Saranac. “I think we need to be more aware of the warning signs that could tip us off to this kind of behavior.”
Julie Truong, 19, of Grand Rapids, doesn’t think this is a gun control issue, but rather a human problem.
“It’s not a gun issue, it’s a people issue,” Truong said. “We need to dig into the root of mental health…and emphasize the need for mental health help.”
When events like these occur, leaders and lawmakers naturally try to find solutions to prevent tragedies from happening in the future. GRCC students Lydia Chandler, 20, and Michaela Chandler, 21, are sisters from Grand Rapids who think it’s the school’s responsibility to protect their students and insist that school security needs to increase.
“Dangerous people will always have a way to get deadly weapons,” Lydia Chandler said. “The solution may be to arm teachers or hire armed guards.”
Michaela Chandler agreed with her sister and commented on the schools emergency drills.
“Lockdown drills might make us less safe,” she said. “Potential shooters might be able to learn emergency protocols.”
Many GRCC students believe that school security is of the utmost importance when it comes to preventing more school shootings.
Michael Gumbko, 19, of Ada, has a history of hunting as a recreational family activity. He knows his way around guns and says he knows what a responsible gun owner looks like.
He alludes to mental health as one of the problems, but was adamant when he said, “all schools need an armed guard.”
Tragic events like these can give the public trepidation about going out to places that attract crowds.
“I’m scared that this will happen again,” said Jayna Lui, 19, of Rockford. “I get nervous going to movies, school, church concerts and, honestly, any big events.”
After mass shootings, there’s typically an outcry from the public for action to be taken. Recent history, however, has inspired skepticism for some.
“I felt awful after hearing about (the shooting),” said Eric, 20, of Grandville. “But honestly, do I feel like anything is going to change? No, I don’t.”
As The Collegiate was getting reactions from students on campus, President Donald Trump stepped to the podium to address the country.
“Our entire nation, with one heavy heart, is praying for the victims and their families,” Trump said. “To every parent, teacher, and child who is hurting so badly, we are here for you — whatever you need, whatever we can do, to ease your pain. We are all joined together as one American family, and your suffering is our burden also.”
Trump didn’t take any questions after his speech today. The speech was short with the transcript being less than two pages. Trump tried to empathize with the friends and families of the victims and spoke directly to the children who may be scared.
“I want to speak now directly to America’s children, especially those who feel lost, alone, confused or even scared,” Trump said. “I want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be. You have people who care about you, who love you, and who will do anything at all to protect you. If you need help, turn to a teacher, a family member, a local police officer, or a faith leader.”
Students are reminded to report any suspicious activities on campus. Students can reach campus police in a non-emergency situation at 234-4010. For all emergencies, please call 911. Don’t be afraid to speak up. If you see something, say something
Editors note – The Collegiate decided not to publish the name of the gunman.
Collegiate writers Dylan Vanderson, Riley Scheffler, Lisa Cooper, Aaron Stoner, and Steven Eason contributed to this story.
This article was edited on Friday for clarity.