The night of February 13th, 2023, still does not feel real. I was lucky to be off campus at my apartment. The night started when my roommate knocked on my door telling me something was happening at MSU. All night we listened to the police radio chatter hoping that we wouldn't hear gunshots reported at buildings we knew our friends were at, texted them to make sure they would respond, texted family to let them know we're safe. We then barricaded our apartment, and turned off the lights when our friends texted us about the gunman being reported on our street. We sat in the dark with pocketknives, flinching to any little noise, thinking about how we would get out or fight if it came down to it, thoughts I hoped I'd have to process.
The days following, the town felt like the air had been sucked out. My friends and I met up, filled with relief that we were all safe, something not everyone got to feel. The social media posts and news coverage then started to pop up with support from all across the country, calls and texts from people who saw the news, something I hoped I would never see.
I say that I hoped I would have to take the actions I took or see the things I've seen, but what I cannot say is that I'm surprised. Our generation is so used to mass shootings to the point when we talk about them, we confuse one with another. Even before February 13th, when I walk into a restaurant or classroom, I look for the exits, I think about where I would run, I think about how I would survive. I had many classes in Berkey Hall; what would've happened if the gunman had come last year? Last semester? Would I have survived? I was at the target across from the Union less than 2 hours before the gunman went to the Union. I was lucky. Our generation is too used to this. We are no longer surprised to see this happen. This is too normal to us.
I don't want MSU to be another shooting that blows over; another mass shooting to add to the list, another shooting that we'll mix up with others when talking about them, another shooting with no action taken. I want change, I want kids to look forward to coming to college, I want learning to be safe, I want future students to enjoy MSU like I did.
Like every MSU student, I will never forget where I was on February 13th, 2023, and the emotions I felt. MSU's campus will never be the same. It's going to be hard for future students to make the same good memories that I was fortunate enough to make. We need action. This is not okay.