Let's Take A Stand Against Violence on Campuses
When the emergency alarm sounded throughout campus Wednesday night, nearly everyone’s initial reaction was, “This is it. This is a school shooting.”
In light of the recent murders at Umpqua Community College in Oregon and threats against Philadelphia-area universities earlier this month, who could blame us for thinking we were next? We’ve received safety procedures from DPS and Student Association days prior to the event. Tensions were high for both faculty and students. Although the homicide near the Syracuse campus did not involve any members of the university, the issue of gun-related violence on campuses has been brought much closer to home. It is about damn time we open our eyes and take a stand.
According to Everytown, an organization dedicated to researching and informing the American public about gun violence, “Since 2013, there have been at least 150 school shootings in America—an average of nearly one a week.” Everytown’s website includes an interactive map that provides details of every reported instance of gun violence on a school campus since 2013, from preschools to universities and everything in between. Just one glance at the spattering of red dots on their map is enough to make you terrified to be a student on a college campus. The vast majority of states in our country have experienced at least one school shooting within the past two years alone. Although the incident near our campus was not enough to land us a dot on the map, it certainly serves as a wake up call that it could have been.
I don’t want to live in an era where I have to be afraid to get an education because of the lack of gun control in this country.
How many more schools have to be attacked? How many more students and faculty members have to die until Congress finally realizes that the country can’t go on like this? Something—anything—needs to be done to regulate who can get their hands on a gun.
Honestly, if attacks on school grounds were the only instances of guns gone wrong, I would feel better about America. But it seems as though gun violence is everywhere these days. It’s happening in movie theaters (remember the mass shootings at The Dark Night Rises and Trainwreck) and churches (i.e. Charleston, South Carolina). It has been happening in inner city neighborhoods, where gun violence is nearly an everyday occurrence. It is happening here in Syracuse, right outside the perimeter of our bubble on the Hill.
According to a Syracuse.com article, “Every four days in Syracuse this year, on average, somebody shot somebody else.” But as students of the university, most of us never would have known. Sure, we all realize that Syracuse has some rough neighborhoods, but we think of our campus as an impervious bubble inside the Syracuse community at large. To us, it’s Syracuse the University vs. Syracuse the City. But there can be no us vs. them. We share this community, and what happens outside of our campus can and does break through our barriers. Wednesday evening’s events proved that to us all.
If violence on school grounds, and around the country is ever going to stop, we have to start with the bigger picture. We cannot make progress if gun violence is still so prevalent in places like movie theaters, churches and neighborhoods. America as a whole needs to take a step back and realize that our current firearms legislation is not protecting anyone. It is only enabling our current landscape of violence and destruction.
People live their entire lives with the mindset that tragedies won’t happen to them—that they’re invincible. But the sad reality is, you never know what could happen. If nothing is done to control the possession of firearms in our country, Syracuse University could be the next dot on the map of school shootings—you're never the victim, until you are.