Gun Control

by Cassidy Lawson
@cassidylawson

Today, (October 14th) there was yet again another school shooting in our country.

Three students were shot today at Tennessee State University at a house in Nashville, TN.

I can’t believe that makes 3 school shootings since Oregon’s Umpqua Community College Shooting two weeks ago. This epidemic of school shootings has made me feel so unbelievably numb. My first real life experience with a school shooting was when Virginia Tech happened, the deadliest school shooting in history that occurred an hour away from my high school. I was in my senior year and enjoying a normal day in April when, all of a sudden, my school was on lockdown and everyone was watching the news about VT. Since I’m from Virginia, a lot of people from my high school had gone to VT so my friends; my teachers and I were on edge about the event, praying we didn’t hear a familiar name on the news. Thankfully, no one that I knew was injured, but it hit so close to home I still remember being in my English classroom watching it with the same confusion and fear that I felt watching September 11th happen in my 6th grade classroom.

School shootings are one of, if not, the biggest issue right now facing higher education. The scary part is that this isn’t an internal problem, such as retention rates and program effectiveness; this is an external problem that looms over each and every campus in America every single day.

Every day I’ve driven onto campus the past few weeks, some thoughts that have actually crossed my mind have been, “What if there is a campus shooter today?”…”The counseling center is right across the hall from us, so does that make me more of a target for an active shooter?” “Where would an active shooter at JMU go first?” Let me point out that these are thoughts that I never thought I would be having when I started my career. I thought my daily thoughts would consist of where am I getting my coffee today vs. what will I do if there is a school shooting.

As you may have remembered, I recently wrote about the Allison Parker story; a JMU alum that was gunned down by a ex-colleague a few months ago. This story shook me to the core because it was a JMU alum, it happened close to my hometown, and she was shot in cold blood. The fact that nothing effective has been done about gun violence in this country is absolutely appalling to me. How many more schools have to be affected until this country does something? I don’t know about you, but the thought of another JMU student/alum loosing their life to gun violence appalls me.

Columbine, Virginia Tech, Northern Arizona, Umpqua Community College, Texas Southern, Tennessee State…these are just a few of the institutions that have been affected by gun violence. How many more deaths will I see in the rest of the semester related to gun violence? I can only hope and pray that as a country we work towards a more peaceful and gun-violence free environment.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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