This day had just started out normal, I had classes cancelled that day, so I was working on homework most of the day. I went to a club meeting that night pretty late. I got back to my dorm, I ate dinner, and then I took a shower. Nothing was out of the ordinary. Then I got a few texts from my mom frantic with screenshots of the alert “Run, Hide, Fight” “active shooter” message from MSU. I was shocked that she would know about that before me. My initial instinct was not to do anything as I assumed it would be a false alarm or something. That was not the case. For the first time it wasn’t a drill, “Run, Hide, Fight.” Those words shook my entire body and made me realize how real this was. The scared texts from my friends trying to confirm if I was alive and safe made me realize there was real danger on our campus, our home. The fear started to rush through me. I realized I had to do what my middle school and high schools taught me to do. It used to be the quiet game until it wasn’t, it was be quiet for your life.
The deadly silence that immediately killed the laughter only 10 minutes before the alert came out. The adrenaline gave me the strength to move my heavy dresser against my door to barricade it. My dad on the phone as I am not making any noise, and him reminding me to turn off my lights and close the blinds. I rushed to turn them off as if someone was right outside. I hid under my bed with a blanket and a pillow in the darkness. The unknown of what was happening outside as the distant sounds of police sirens speeding past my dorm filled the silence. The red and blue lights lighting up my blinds over and over again. The realization that this was happening was so scary, as I had never imagined this was something that could happen to me. I have always lived with the image that I would live till I was old, and nothing could ever happen to me before that. About 20 minutes into the shelter in place that image of life shattered when there were photos of fellow students in body bags, students running, and photos of people walking around with long guns. I have always been afraid of guns as even just the idea of them scared me. You don’t realize what you value most until you think you are going to lose everything.
In the moment that I didn’t think I would ever see my family again, my partner, and my closest friends I sent those texts expressing my love for them and all the things I thought we would be able to do in the future I thought was going to be perfect. I wanted to get a good job, get an apartment, have a dog, and have the life that everyone dreams about. The fearful texts I sent to some of my loved ones, “I love you so much… I wish I was home.. If I don’t see you again I promise you I wanted a life with you… I HEARD GUNSHOTS..MOM… CALL THE POLICE FOR ME… Am I gonna die…” In the core I didn’t think I was gonna be able to see my loved ones again as the gunshots sounded close and outside my window. I heard running in my building and I went cold when someone banged on my door, and I heard the jiggling of the doorknob. I stopped breathing in that moment. I didn’t even want to hear myself just in case the shooter was outside my door listening for life inside.
I had almost nothing to defend my life if someone was to get inside. That one pepper spray that I thought would never come in use did that day. I gripped onto the pepper spray, unlocked the opening, and held onto it as tight as I could. I was alone the whole time, and my family was all on one phone call and all I was doing to respond to them was texting them. The constant rush of information that started as one shooter gave all of the students the impression that there were almost 10. Any noise that students heard was called in and any noise that was heard was terrifying. Then came in the bomb threats. I remember the moment someone said there may be bombs in all the buildings and that is when I was defeated and had no hope. I texted everyone saying how much I loved them over and over.
More videos started to surface hours later into the shelter in place, and someone matching the description was found. Once he was found he self-inflicted a gunshot. That was not even enough relief to leave my hiding spot. Once the police report said there was an all-clear it was just a rush of emotions I had been holding in. The spartan community has been broken but I know we will heal together. So many were affected as I know this will take a long time to recover and start the healing process, and the poor innocent lives that were taken that night. Remember them, honor them, and never forget what happened 2.13.23. We need to take charge and make the change. Spartan Strong.