On September 2 at 5:36 p.m., thousands of Villanova students and families received texts and phone calls warning of an active shooter on campus. For roughly 45 minutes, those on campus barricaded themselves inside dorm rooms, lecture halls, and other campus facilities while contacting their families and worrying that they might see a friend's name on national television. Though thankfully it was a false alarm, that time spent in my dark dorm room were some of the most terrifying of my life.
The sad thing is, my first thought after being in utter confusion and terror was "it's finally us."
There has been an astounding number of mass shootings in the United States in 2019 so far, far more than any other country in the world. And yet, we still hold onto our rights to hold guns.
Our movie theaters, concerts, places of worship, schools, workplaces, and homes are constantly under threat of gun violence. Far too many innocent men, women, and children have lost their lives at the hands of a situation that we have the power to control.
Automatic assault weapons should never be sold to the public. They are simply not necessary. The methods used to approve people to buy guns often fail, and these weapons still fall into the hands of those who did not pass the various tests and background checks required by the government to possess these machines.
The incident at Villanova's campus was the second false alarm active shooter shelter in place I have experienced, and both have been equally terrifying. People were panicking on the phone with their parents, siblings, friends and loved ones, and frantically checking in on everyone they knew to make sure everyone was safe. College is supposed to be a place of freedom and self-discovery, and students should not have to fear that this phone call home would be their last.
Regardless of your political beliefs, can we all find a way to come together to protect not just ourselves, but the people we love most? Protect children from the fear of death at the hands of a human with an assault rifle? Keep our festivals, schools, and places of enjoyment and release safe from terror? No one should ever have to receive the texts that I and thousands of other members of the Villanova community found on our phones on Labor Day. Call your representatives to voice your opinion.
Yes, people kill people, but guns make it a hell of a lot easier.