COLUMN: Yet again, a mass tragedy

Rob Le Cates

Katja Benz is a senior English major and can be reached at 581-2912 or [email protected].

Katja Benz, Columnist

There have been two mass shootings on or around Valentine’s Day that I am aware of. I was an eighteen-year-old high school senior on Feb. 14, 2018, when the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting happened.  

Presently, I am a college senior and a mass shooting where three people were killed and five were critically injured occurred Monday night at Michigan State University (MSU), a school that I am looking at in pursuit of a graduate degree.  

Michigan State, very similar to Eastern, is a public university with a wide variety of resources available to its students. A difference, you ask? 

Michigan State is a Big Ten university. While that will not mean much to the non-athletically inclined folk, that means that the campus brings in a lot of money due to sports like football and men’s basketball.  

Other schools in the Big Ten Conference includes UIUC and Indiana University-Bloomington.  

While mentioning that may seem a bit random, so here is my point: every Big Ten university has a huge campus. I do not mean huge in a bad way; I just mean that it could take fifteen minutes to get from your residence hall to the student recreation center on campus.  

It could take fifteen minutes to walk off campus after injuring or killing eight people before you get found.  

When it comes to the unfortunate events that are mass shootings, I always wonder what will change. I want things to change so desperately, but these things keep happening repeatedly.  

These innocent lives should not be in critical condition in the hospital or have funeral arrangements made for. Instead, they should have attended class today, done homework in the business library before getting dinner at one of the Sparty’s on campus before watching a movie with their friends.  

My thoughts are with the Spartan community currently, as is my hope and willingness to create space for those that are either fighting for or have lost their lives, as well as the faculty, staff, and students at Michigan State.  

However, with my willingness to create space for this community to grieve, I am also hoping to create a change in the rhetoric for what happens any time an event like this happens.  

Presently, the only thing that seems to happen, regardless of where these shootings take place, is that the community only gets ‘thoughts and prayers.’  

While I am sure that is helpful in some capacity, what about making the change? Thoughts and prayers will never bring back the lives we have lost due to mass shootings.  

While changes to the policies set around gun control, gun access and gun laws will never bring these lives back either, they will prevent more lives being taken recklessly due to gun violence.  

As someone who wants to work at a university, my students, as well as my fellow staff and faculty should not have to worry about their lives being taken.  

So, please fix it. I do not know many other ways to say this, but I am begging you to fix it. Not only for college students, but for everybody.  

Katja Benz is a senior English major. She can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.