Pleiad Editorial: Our Thoughts Following the Michigan State Shooting

Editor’s Note:

The following editorial is a collection of statements, anecdotes and personal opinions from members of the Albion Pleiad staff following the shooting at Michigan State University on Feb. 13. Some statements are longer than others. Some are personal. Some are political.

It’s not cohesive – it’s broken and disjointed. We’re publishing it this way because that is how we feel.

Bella Bakeman, Managing Editor:

I woke up crying as I scrolled through Instagram to find it filled with my high school friends’ posts about their traumatic nights, friends lost, their home, how they were told to run, hide and fight. I called my mom, panicking about pursuing an degree in education because I am worried I will lose my life at a school. At a school – where children are sent to learn and grow, not die.

I’ve never found myself getting too emotional about school shootings, it’s disgustingly normalized in America and it never hit close enough to home. Oxford was closer to me in proximity, just 36 minutes away. But this one, East Lansing, was closer to me emotionally. I toured there, almost called that campus home and am still only 56 minutes away. I’m sick of reading about school shootings, I’m sick of talking about school shootings and I never want to write about one. Ever. Again.

Juan Rodriguez, Opinions Editor:

My heart breaks for the friends, families and communities that lose loved ones in tragedies like these. Their pain is great, incalculable by human instruments. There’s no ignoring the place that a loved one occupied. All one can do is try and handle things the best they can. The absence of warmth is a difficult thing to ignore for long though. Those affected will need the help of others in navigating this world without their loved ones. Wherever possible, we must do whatever we can to ease the task of putting one foot in front of the other for those impacted. 

Gabriel Peraino, Sports Editor: 

These situations hit close to me and I often think about how lucky of a position I am in. When Oxford happened last year, that’s when I learned that situations with gun violence can happen anywhere. If it wasn’t for school of choice, I certainly would’ve been at Oxford High School last year shaking and praying for my life like so many other kids were that day. I knew the affected faculty members and students, and I often think back on my decision to attend school in the community next door. Was that potentially a life-or-death decision? What could’ve happened to me or the friends that I would’ve made had I attended Oxford?

Why are times so complicated? What direction are we going in as a country? What happened to love and decency? What has happened to humanity?

I honestly don’t know what the answer is and I wish I did. But I think everyone needs to hold on to family and friends a little tighter through these times, because I know one thing is for certain: tomorrow is not a promise anymore. 

Mauricio Perez Garcia, Staff Writer:

To watch videos of students – our family, friends and fellows – desperately running, hiding and weeping for safety is more than enough to penetrate my image of humanity. I am sorry for all the families, friends, and communities that have been forever impacted by the horrific events at MSU. Our sorrows are not enough to mend your mourning. However, we stand here with you, and for you. 

Rhiannon Slotnick, Staff Writer:

These students – these were innocent people with no connection to the shooter. I grieve for these families. I grieve for the people who have been affected at our school and for those at MSU. This country talks about freedom, but they don’t take into consideration that some of the freedom they give can cost lives. 

Heidi Faramelli, Staff Writer:

I can still remember the first time I heard about a school shooting. I was in first grade. Now, twelve years later, I have heard about a school shooting closer to me – both in proximity, and emotionally – than ever before. 

I am so heartbroken for the victim’s families and for all students impacted by this horrible, traumatizing situation. This cannot keep happening. We are not meant to go to school wondering if we will make it home safe and alive. We are not meant to fear for our lives each time we go to the grocery store, watch a movie, go to the mall or walk to a concert. Change is necessary, and I am tired of anyone pretending that it isn’t. We must grieve the victims and process this gut-wrenching situation, yet we also need to call others to action to prevent more lost lives. 

Sophia Perrault, Staff-Writer:

When I heard about the shooting, I was enraged. These thoughts and prayers are not working. This country is no longer the beacon of hope it was once known as. This country is no longer the land of opportunity. This country, and all its citizens, now only know bullets and bloodshed.

Natalie Altayeb, Part-Time Staff Writer:

You never think it’ll happen to you until it does, and before you know it you’re following every news update on behalf of family and friends. You hope that your love can be seen in the lines of a text message telling them to do what they think is best while knowing in the back of your mind that even the most prepared sometimes don’t make it. 

Most of all, you hope that the righteous anger and sorrow create a flood that finally causes change instead of empty promises that it’ll never happen again, and that you won’t have to text your friends and family while fearing their last words being reduced to words on a screen. 

Phoebe Holm, Part-Time Staff Writer:

It’s hard for me to formulate the words to explain the immense emotions I felt. The news was followed by a flood of texts from people I know, asking me if I saw the news, asking if I knew anyone there, if I was safe. My mother and father were messaging me nonstop, drilling into me about staying safe, to not go anywhere without someone by my side. 

This is the sad reality we live within, we shouldn’t have to fear stepping outside of our door every day. Not knowing if the campus we live within is even safe enough to reside in. It was hard to go to classes knowing that no college campus – really any place in the world – is safe from gun violence. It made me and many others paranoid; every room I stepped into felt heavy. 

Bonnie Lord, Part-Time Staff Writer:

Panic sets in. Group chats light up, calls are made and prayers are muttered. As the daughter of a public high school teacher, I’ve always worried about when it will happen in my hometown. For most of us, it is no longer a question of if, but a matter of when. 

In a political science class of mine, we talked about the difference between a problem and a condition. A problem is an issue that people are talking about, something to be solved, addressed and prevented.

A condition is a problem that has become so common that it no longer seems like an immediate concern; it is too big to solve, too normal to worry about anymore. Mass shootings in this country have become a condition.

When will the call be about my dad? When will it be my sister at Alma or my brother at CMU? Will I even know about it until it’s over? In the news, ready to be forgotten, plastered over by the next one? 

Will we walk away traumatized and nervous around shadowy figures and fireworks, never able to see our campus the same way? Will we lose someone irreplaceable? Will we stare a little too long at that propped-open door, that unread text, that missed call, that noise down the hall, that single exit in a classroom hoping, praying that we have a little more time?  

Katherine Simpkins, Volunteer Photographer:

There are people living among us that have lived through two mass shootings. Let that sink in. Oxford was just 14 months ago and now Michigan is faced with another tragedy. I wish I could take the pain away from the families affected by such a horrible act of violence. 

These beautiful souls who were just trying to get an education were killed so senselessly. I’m tired of living in a world where I must be observant of malicious behavior, fear going to class, afraid to walk into a grocery store.

Those students didn’t deserve this. No one deserves to live in fear and I expect the generations before me, the people around me and the elected officials in office to do better. 

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