Students fearful as mass shootings increase


MCT Campus

Students study together at the Michigan Union on University of Michigan Campus on Thursday, March 12, 2020, the day after The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus to be a pandemic. The day before all of Michigan’s 15 public universities announced they will move to online classes and encourage their students to return home.

As Morgan Andrews sat down for lunch at the cafeteria, she immediately looked around to see where the exits were, in case of emergency. Since the university started returning back to normal, this has become the reality for Andrews whenever she goes into a public place alone.

According to Gun Violence Archive, 274 mass shooting incidents have occurred across the country in 2021. This is 40% higher than the same period last year. 

Andrews, a senior toxicology major, learned about the increase in the number of mass shooting cases, earlier this year. Now, she not only has to be worried about contracting COVID, but she also has to be scared for her own life.

The Congressional Research Service defines mass shootings as multiple firearm and homicide incidents involving four or more victims, whether they die or not. “While we were quarantined, there was a lot of time and opportunity for mass shooting perpetrators to plan their attacks,” Andrews said. “A lot of these culprits suffer from mental and behavioral setbacks, which became a lot more severe since the pandemic lockdown.”

Jon Riley, a senior political science major, said one of the reasons the number of mass shootings increased as the lockdown subsided is because social distancing laws are becoming more lax and people are now gathering at schools, churches and parties.

“This makes me feel paranoid and anxious being in public now especially because schools are usually the targets for these shootings,” Riley said. “A couple of years ago, a student threatened to bomb the university if he didn’t get the grade he wanted. Even though the situation was handled well, it made me realize how easily these kind of crimes could occur on our campus.”

Queen Bolden, a senior radiologic technology major, said gun safety laws are essential to reducing the cases of mass shootings nationally.

“We cannot truly be safe from gun crimes until all states mandate gun carriers to have a license that allows them to own the gun,” Bolden said. “It is also important to check the mental, behavioral and emotional health of the person applying for the gun license before they are permitted to use the guns.” 

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, more than 21 million people completed a background check to buy a gun last year, shattering all previous records. Their survey found that 40% identified as new gun owners. 

“ULM should enforce mental health checks like they do with the online trainings to see where the students are mentally,” Riley said. “They also need to improve the security on campus and increase the number of metal detectors in the buildings, just like the ones they have in the library.”