Look for the helpers

I remember the first time we ever had a lock down in my elementary school.
I was 6 years old, and I got to sit under my desk,
I thought it was fun.
I didn’t understand what a lock down was.

As I grew up, we continued to do lock down drills.
I remember me and 2 other students pretending to hide under our German teacher’s desk once.
It was all fun and games.

But these tragedies aren’t fun and games.
Lately, they’ve been occurring more and more frequently.
You can hardly go a week without hearing of a high school or a college having a bomb threat/gun man/stabbing.

But it seems that this semester, it’s really been hitting home…

In January I was sitting in my theatre class here at Oklahoma State,
casually checking twitter (even though cell phones are banned in that class..)
I saw something terrible.
The University of Oklahoma was on lockdown because of a possible shooter on campus.
I frantically texted all of my friends to make sure they were ok.
One of them replied telling me he had been shot in the arm… Glad you have jokes Kody.
Thankfully, the entire thing was a false alarm.

Less than a month later, in February, I sat in my Sociology of Gender class,
And a campus text went out… “Bomb threat”
Someone had called in a bomb threat in our bus terminal.
You always wonder how you’ll react in those moments, and Oklahoma State went on with the day.
Classes continued, selling things at Chi O clock continued, the day ran as normal,
The only difference was that helicopters swarmed above us.
About 4 hours after the text went out, we got the all clear.
And again, much like at OU, thankfully, it was a false alarm.

In the beginning of this month, I again checked twitter,
And saw something wasn’t quite right at my best friend, Katy’s school.
Kent State University in Kent, Ohio was on lockdown.
A shot had been fired.
Katy lives off campus and was currently in her apartment, so I wasn’t too worried about her safety.
And I required her to keep texting me until it was all over.
While shots were fired, no one was killed or injured, and the suspect was caught.

Unfortunately though, not all potential threats turn out as well in the end.

This week I was reading some news, and I noticed…
“Mass stabbing at University of Calgary”
My heart sank, I had a friend there.
I immediately raced to Mariam’s Facebook, and I confirmed that she was ok.
Physically ok, I should say…
5 people are dead in Calgary.
The entire campus is confused and hurting right now, so while they’re physically ok, they will take some time to be mentally ok.

These aren’t even a fraction of things that have happened at colleges this semester, and not to mention high schools.
These are only the ones that I have been apart of, or I had close ties too.
I didn’t even mention the Pennsylvania high school stabbing, Arapahoe High School in Colorado, or any that took place from 1999-2013, which is when these tragedies have become more publicized.
And coincidentally, the same years as my school career.
These acts are senseless.
We cannot begin to wrap our heads around these types of tragedies, and maybe the fact we cannot figure them out speaks to our own sanity.
But something needs to be done.

I won’t sit here and act like I have the answers,
or will I sit here and preach my political beliefs.
I’ve grown up in Oklahoma, I spent many weekends at my grandparents farm, I grew up with a rifle on the mantle of my home, and shooting was an activity at my Girl Scout camp when I was a child…
From that I think it’s easy enough to deduce my thoughts on the gun control debate in America lately.
Everyone is going to have their own political beliefs, and I am not your elected official, so I don’t need to hear yours.
And, in the spirit of fairness, I won’t preach mine to you.

But something needs to be done.
This is slowly becoming the norm.
A quick Wikipedia search showed me that in Europe their have been 22 school shootings spanning from 1913-2014.
However, in America, their have been 34 in just 2014.
And it’s pretty damn chilling to scroll through that same list and see Stillwater, Oklahoma listed in 2012.

Be that gun laws that are making the difference, or societal differences,
I think it is warranted to say, America needs a change.
Because children are dying, and yes, college kids are still children in this sense.
And not only are children dying, entire schools and campuses are being forever changed.

 

But until a change is made, we must remember the words are one of the wisest men we all know, Mister Rogers…

 

mr_rogers_helpers_quote

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