Spring Break is a time for relaxation and reflection as the school year makes the turn to the end and summer vacation starts to creep into our minds.
For me, Spring Break was supposed to start with the removal of my wisdom teeth. My girlfriend attends Central Michigan University and I went up to Mount Pleasant to pick her up and bring her home to Grand Rapids.
The drive from Grand Rapids to CMU’s campus is one that I have made many times in the past year. It honestly is one of my favorite drives as I have the opportunity to relax, reflect, and sometimes go fast (but don’t tell my mom).
I pulled in the parking lot of my girlfriend’s residence hall, Sweeney Hall, located in the southwest part of campus. We were actually planning on staying in Mount Pleasant overnight and leave around 8 a.m. Friday morning. We made the decision to leave Thursday night after she finished her late-night shift in the cafeteria. We quick ate a small dinner together in her dorm room and hit the road back to Grand Rapids.
While the late-night driving was not all that fun (simply because I was tired from a long day, I love driving around with my girlfriend) we had a great conversation just about life and our relationship. One of the topics we touched on was our biggest fears. Be it loneliness or my impending procedure just 12 hours later.
One of my biggest fears was one I didn’t actually voice during this conversation, and I really didn’t feel as though I had to because the chances of if it were so small.
I was wrong – I was horribly wrong.
The fear that hearing about an active shooter situation at CMU, and not knowing that my best friend was going to be safe.
My fear almost came to a reality when a sophomore student shot and killed both of his parents on the fourth floor of Campbell Hall in the Towers Plaza and put the entire campus and other area schools in lockdown.
This is the 14th school shooting this year, and it’s March.
I won’t dance around the subject or beat around the bush – that is ridiculous.
- Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, North Carolina
- Italy High School in Italy, Texas
- Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky
- Lincoln High School in Philadelphia
- Sal Castro Middle School in Los Angeles
- Oxon Hill High in Oxon Hill, Maryland
- Pearl-Cohn High School in Nashville
- Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida
- Savannah State University in Savannah, Georgia
- Mississippi State University Recreation Center in Itta Bena, Mississippi
- Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia
- Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant
- Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi
- Huffman High School in Birmingham, Alabama
That is a list obtained from CNN and they included any shooting that took place on school grounds, whether fatal or not.
It may seem biased to write about a tragedy that took place on a campus that I will be attending and living by next fall. If it is, I really do not care, that is my future home. That’s where my heart is. My girlfriend lives just a few steps from the Towers, and we go over from time to time to pick up food at Subway. So this is the one time I will shoot down any naysayers calling me out for a bias.
In the culture we live in, it was about time that something like this would hit so close to home. Quite frankly, it’s heartbreaking. I live in fear everyday that I would have gotten an alert like I did on Friday, I’ll say it again, I was so glad most of my friends had taken off for Spring Break or were safely secured in their dorms and apartments.
Just two days before the shooting in Mount Pleasant, The Collegiate posted an editorial, “How to keep our campus safe”, while there is no clear-cut solution, something must be done. Students across the United States began to take action as they walked out of their classrooms on March 14 for 17 minutes to remember the 17 lives that were claimed in Parkland a month later after the shooting at Stoneman-Douglas.
Seeing as this is an opinion piece, I have no problem offering mine.
Enough is enough.
I am a firm believer in the Second Amendment, it’s a right my family has instilled in me since I was young. I do not own any guns myself because I do not think I could handle the responsibility of taking someone’s life. As that action may be saving others, I can envision that moment haunting me for a long time.
So in my mind, taking guns away from responsible, licensed, law-abiding citizens is incorrect. I do think, however, a better screening process needs to be put in place. Every gun must be under someone’s name, exactly like any vehicle. That way, gun owners will be held to a higher accountability standard than they are now. In all honesty, these are not the folks that we as a society need to worry about, the ones that look to harm are the ones we need to worry about. They are not right in the head, they hate with a fiery passion and do not know how to handle that hatred, so they kill.
In an Instagram post I made early the next day, I referenced the song, “People Loving People” by Garth Brooks. In the end of each chorus, Brooks sings, “we’re just people loving people.” I paraphrased that refrain saying, “we need to be People Loving People.” Ellen Degeneres always ends her talk show saying, “be kind to one another.” How about we do that? Why can’t we be people loving people and being kind to one another?