What the Central Michigan shooting taught me about school safety


You never think it’s going to happen to you. You never think you’ll be involved. You never think it could happen in your world. Until it does.

School shootings have become frighteningly normal in the United States. I used to watch these tragic events unfold on TV and think it would never happen to me. But in the past week, it came dangerously close to home.

Recently, there was a shooting on Central Michigan University’s campus. The situation is still unfolding and things are getting more and more complicated, but we do know a student shot and killed his parents in a dorm room at CMU. When I got a text telling me there was an active shooter on CMU’s campus, my heart sank. I have close friends that go to school there, and more importantly, my sister goes to CMU. The second I heard this, I thought of the worst case scenario. What if? What if, what if, what if?

There will never be enough words to ever describe how I felt in that instant. I can never give you an exact picture of those thoughts, feelings, and emotions running through me. But, after feeling almost every single emotion all at once, I was filled with relief. I was lucky. My sister left earlier for spring break and made it home. My brain didn’t process she was home, and I immediately went into a fight or flight reaction. While I did panic for a few minutes, she reminded me that she had made it home the previous night.

While my sister was safe at this time, she had friends that hadn’t yet left campus. Her friends had to go into lockdown. I can’t imagine how scary that must be. Waking up to the news that there is a shooter on your campus, how it isn’t safe, and that you need to hide in your room and wait to see what happens. Imagine my sister, sitting at home, waiting to make sure her friends are safe.

I can’t imagine how all the parents involved must have felt. After being escorted to a nearby hotel, all the parents could do was sit around and wait. Sit around and wait while hoping that their child was safe. Sit around and wait while feeling completely powerless to the current situation.

Luckily, no students were harmed. But, parents and students still had to live through this circumstance that is avoidable.

I am sick of this.

Why does this keep happening?

Yes, while gun control is still hotly debated, we need to do something. I don’t care what it is, but some sort of action needs to be taken to make schools and colleges safer. I’m not saying gun control is the answer, but something must be done. There is no reason not to take action. I don’t care what your political leanings are, but if you think that schools are perfectly safe and that there is nothing we can do, you are oblivious to what is happening. There is no perfect way to fix this. The road to a solution is going to be messy. People will have to fight and compromise to get a solution. But we need to do something. Anything.

Why are people so unwilling to find a solution? Right now, from politicians, citizens, and concerned Americans are only making excuses, not progress. We need people to take responsibility on both sides and work together. Arguing what side is correct is unnecessary, and quite frankly, a waste of time. There are no right sides to this. This isn’t a black and white situation.

I don’t want to see one more Facebook post arguing about how this is at fault of the Republicans or Democrats. It would be a much better use of time to try to make progress instead of saying endless I told you so’s. Instead of faulting everyone that doesn’t agree with you, why don’t you put aside your pride and try making things better?

I never want to turn on the news and hear that someone I care about is unsafe at school. This isn’t some sort of action that should become normal, it needs to end now. It is possible that people can put aside their differences to make a change. School safety shouldn’t be an argument, it is a desperate need that needs to be implemented now.