By Cissie Brotzman
“Active shooter, this is not a drill,” are words I never thought I would hear coming out of my own professor’s mouth.
My classmates and I rushed to the corner of the room, closed the blinds, turned off the lights, locked and barricaded the door with all of the desks we could get our hands on. Our professor instructed us to get out of sight from the windows and door and sit quietly.
So we sat quietly, for 53 minutes. That felt like 53 years. I gripped my friend’s hand and sobbed as I texted everyone in my contacts that I loved them.
Although the shelter in place issued on April 3rd, was not a real threat, the fear I felt, and I can imagine the fear that the whole Rider community felt, was entirely real. We were lucky enough that nothing tragic happened, but the events that occurred made me think about all of the students and teachers who have lost their lives due to gun violence in schools. It made me think about all of the thousands of other students who have sat in their classrooms crying, feeling the same fear that is unexplainable. It made me think about those that didn’t have the opportunity to go home and hug their parents.
Something needs to change. Schools are meant to be a safe space for students to learn and grow. Students and teachers should not walk into school every day wondering if they will walk out alive.
Gun violence in America has been an issue for long enough, and mass shootings are on the rise. According to bbc.com, there were 690 mass shootings in the United States in 2021 in which four or more people lost their lives. It is so easy to buy a gun in America, and background checks are hardly evident.
The shootings of Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook were two of the most prevalent school shootings in the United States, both of which happened over ten years ago. There should have been change the second there was open fire on any school campus.
The second amendment in the Constitution, the right to bear arms, was ratified on December 15th, 1791. That was over 200 years ago. According to the Washington Post, there have been 377 school shootings since 1999. More than 349,000 students have experienced gun violence since 1999. The second amendment is outdated, and should be taken away.
The government is more worried about controlling women’s bodies and taking away LGBTQ+ rights than it is worried about hundreds of children dying each year from gun violence in schools. Most members of the government are not women, and most members of government do not identify as a part of the LGBTQ+ community. The laws being passed concerning the rights of women and the LGBTQ+ community do not apply to everyone. Gun control applies to everyone. Anyone can be killed any day by a gun, so how many times do students and teachers have to be murdered in schools before the government takes action?
No one should ever have to feel the fear I felt on the afternoon of April 3. No one should ever have to sit in a dark classroom and wonder if they will make it out alive. Change needs to be made, and it needs to be made now.