My College Had An Active Shooter Situation, And It Was Terrifying

My College Had An Active Shooter Situation, And It Was Terrifying

When I heard the shots I thought this situation could turn into a massive tragedy

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November 29, 11:00ish PM

I was getting ready to go to bed. I'd been up doing homework, which was no surprise considering finals week is looming way too close for comfort. I'd thought about going to the library, but I knew if I walked all the way there I wasn't going to have the motivation to go back to my dorm. One of my roommates had gotten out of cheer practice pretty recently, and she was in the dining hall with some friends. I was on my phone, just checking Snapchat and other stuff before I turned it off for the night. I was getting ready to be done for the night when I got a notification from our floor's GroupMe, asking what was happening over by the library. Someone had heard there was something involving gunshots going down either by there or the rec center.

11:15 PM

The floor group chat explodes, and everyone's Snapchat stories are full of people telling others to take shelter and calling each other to make sure they were okay. I texted all of my friends and made sure they were safe, and then called my mom to tell her what was going on. She was understandably freaked out, but she felt better after I told her I was safe and told me to let her know if anything else happened.

11:33 PM

We finally get a text from campus police, saying there was a police emergency involving a gun near the rec center. By this point pretty much everyone has known for a bit now what's going on, and we're all a bit frustrated that it took so long to get an alert out when we'd known for at least a good 15-20 minutes beforehand. We go on Facebook and let loved ones know that we're safe, we're out of harm's way, no we don't know what's going on other than we've been told to shelter in place.

November 30, 12:33 AM

We receive another text alert that the shelter in place has been lifted and there is no longer an active threat on campus. I text my mom again and let her know that campus PD has said we were safe and that I'm going to bed.

We saw some of the drama unfold from our window, and could see the police cruiser lights flashing as we frantically called our friends to make sure they were okay, and then our families to let them know in return we were safe. Things went pretty much back to normal during the day after, but it was still scary to think about what could have happened if this was more than a fight gone too violent. My roommate and I had immediately thought after we heard there were shots that this could be the next shooting that would end up as a tragedy, and lives lost. Thankfully, it wasn't, but the fact that this was the first thought that came to mind when this happened is terrifying, that this has just become the norm to expect when we hear something about shots being fired.

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To The Defeated Nursing Major, You'll Rise

You'll rise because every single day that you slip on your navy blue scrubs and fling your pretty little stethoscope around your neck, the little girl that you once were with the dream of saving lives someday will be silently nudging you to keep going.

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You will have weeks when you are defeated. Some mornings you won't be able to get out of bed and some days you won't be able to stop crying enough to go to class. You'll feel like nobody understands the stress that you are under, and you have absolutely nobody to talk to because they either don't get it or are dealing with their own meltdowns. There will be weeks that you want to change your major and give up on the whole thing. But, you'll rise.
You will miss football games, concerts, and nights out with the girls. There will be stretches of two or more weeks you'll go without seeing your mom, and months where you have to cancel on your best friend 4+ times because you have too much studying to do. There will be times where no amount of "I'm sorry" can make it up to your little brother when you miss his big football game or your grandparents when you haven't seen them in months. But, you'll rise.

You will have patients who tell you how little they respect nurses and that you won't be able to please no matter how hard you try. You will have professors who seem like their goal is to break you, especially on your bad days. You will encounter doctors who make you feel like the most insignificant person on the planet. You will leave class some days, put your head against your steering wheel and cry until it seems like there's nothing left to cry out. But, you'll rise.

You will fail tests that you studied so hard for, and you will wing some tests because you worked too late the night before. You will watch some of the smartest people you've ever known fail out because they simply aren't good test-takers. You will watch helplessly as your best friend falls apart because of a bad test grade and know that there is absolutely nothing you can do for her. There will be weeks that you just can't crack a smile no matter how hard you try. But, you'll rise.

You'll rise because you have to — because you've spent entirely too much money and effort to give up that easily. You'll rise because you don't want to let your family down. You'll rise because you're too far in to stop now. You'll rise because the only other option is failing, and we all know that nurses do not give up.

You'll rise because you remember how badly you wanted this, just three years ago as you were graduating high school, with your whole world ahead of you. You'll rise because you know there are people that would do anything to be in your position.

You'll rise because you'll have one patient during your darkest week that'll change everything — that'll hug you and remind you exactly why you're doing this, why this is the only thing you can picture yourself doing for the rest of your life.

You'll rise because every single day that you slip on your navy blue scrubs and fling your pretty little stethoscope around your neck, the little girl that you once were with the dream of saving lives someday will be silently nudging you to keep going.

You'll rise because you have compassion, you are selfless, and you are strong. You'll rise because even during the darkest weeks, you have the constant reminder that you will be changing the world someday.

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The Reality Of Gun Violence In America Is That ALL Of It Is Preventable And NONE Of It Is Ok

It happens a lot more than we hear about.

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Exactly a year after Parkland, there had been nearly 350 mass shootings in the U.S., defined as a shooting in which four or more people, excluding the shooter, were shot but not necessarily killed. That number is very close to one every day in the year since.

If we look even farther back than just one year ago in Parkland, if we go all the way back to Sandy Hook in December 2012, when the mantra of "never again" was adopted, there has been nearly 2,000 mass shootings since. Over 2,200 people were killed, and nearly 8,200 were wounded. Since 2013, there has only been one full calendar week in the U.S.--the week of January 5, 2014--that did not have a mass shooting. From January 1 of this year to February 14, there had been 37 mass shootings, which saw 60 people killed and 113 wounded.

The worst part is, mass shootings happen so often now that we don't always hear of them. In the past year since the Parkland shooting, I had only heard of a handful of the nearly 350 mass shootings that took place. And that's not because I don't pay attention. When I'm at home, I'd watch the morning or nightly news with my family--which, for Chicago news stations, involves a lot of gun violence stories--and when I'm in college and don't have a TV, I read a lot of news articles online. I care about what happens in this nation, what happens around me. And perhaps that's why, as a human being, all of this hurts so much.

The more articles I read about the shooting in Aurora at Henry Pratt Co., the more statistics I find relating to gun violence and mass shootings, the more I read about the so-called national emergency our president declared, the more painful this all becomes. To think that so many people are losing their lives to gun violence and mass shootings and there's relatively nothing being done to stop it, no recognition from the leader of our nation, it's incredibly sickening. It's all unnecessary bloodshed, innocent lives being taken. I absolutely hate that I have to write this--I shouldn't have to write this.

Citizens of this country should not be afraid to go to work. They shouldn't have to worry about being shot on their first day on the job, whether an intern or full-time employee--they've already got first-day nerves, the added fear of a shooting does not need to be there. They shouldn't have to be afraid to go to school, not knowing if they'll be able to make it home that day. Parents shouldn't be scared to send their kids to school, either. And college kids worst nightmare shouldn't be not being able to make it home if something happened to their parents or siblings or friends during a mass shooting. A president's response to this shouldn't be a routine. We shouldn't be numb to hearing about yet another mass shooting.

All of this is preventable. All of this needs to be addressed. None of this is okay.

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