The flag was at half-mast today at the University of Redlands in mourning of the victims of the eighth shooting at a U.S. school this year. A high school in Parkland, Fl., lost 17 students and staff, a number that may rise as victims are treated for gunshot wounds in local hospitals. The Redlands Bulldog has collected the reactions of students across campus as the university community processes this tragically common event, alongside the rest of the United States.
This morning, Ralph Kuncl, University of Redlands president, sent a campus wide email with the subject line “The Florida Tragedy: How Shall We Respond?”
“It is a sad day for us all. There is another mass murder by guns in a public place. It is of course the case that we sincerely express our deepest condolences and prayerfulness for the families and colleagues of the victims. But our society seems desensitized to the epidemiology of gun violence. We have even become numb to the news.
What does it mean? According to the NY Times, ‘with the Parkland shooting, three of the deadliest mass shootings in modern United States history have come in the last five months.’ As violence seems to accelerate, we cannot continue merely to mourn or give thoughts and prayers. That is now a banal social response expected of political figures. Rather, the rising frequency and scale of public murders indicates an epidemic.
As we look up at our flag flown at half-mast today, let us all be mindful of the tragic losses that our “brothers and sisters” have faced. But let us also be mindful that the time has been long coming for a presidential commission on gun violence and an open-minded approach to research.”
The same sentiment iterated within Kuncl’s address to the University of Redlands community reverberated throughout the student body.
Stelle Salsbery, a sophomore:
“I think I’m most frustrated by my own indifference toward what happened, culturally, we’ve become so desensitized to these attacks … at this point I feel really bad, but I also feel helpless because there’s nothing directly I feel like I can do. Action that happens afterward isn’t as important as preventative action.”
Senior Nora Curtin:
“The thing is about these shootings, investigating doesn’t give you solace. Whenever it happens in America, the fact that it has to become constant news is horrible.”
Noelle Dillman, a sophomore:
“It definitely reinforces in my mind the idea that we need gun control. It seems ridiculous we have mass shootings when it can be fixed with gun control. A lot of good could come of policies being implemented…eradicate the source of the problem. If we take away the gun, we wouldn’t have as many shooters.”
Senior Lally Homans:
“I obviously think it’s really sad. I’m not against the second amendment [but] I’m not for it. America doesn’t have good gun laws. We aren’t number one in education, healthcare, or prison reform but we are in shootings. I just think we need to change our gun laws.”
Kelly Bradshaw, a sophomore:
“It’s frustrating how it is so normal to talk about [shooting] that it isn’t shocking,” said sophomore, Kelly Bradshaw. “The fact he was talking about it in previous years, threatening to shoot up the school, as a joke. That people just saw it as a normal joke, is concerning.”
Sophomore Grace Pollard:
“It has been normalized. In the way I heard about the shooting I wasn’t shocked at all.”
To end his campus wide email, President Kuncl wrote, “It is a sad day, yes, and I wish it were otherwise. But here we are. Let’s do something about it.”
Photo contributed by Redlands Bulldog photographer, Halie West.