OPINION: “Run, hide, fight.” 

Grace Clarke, Opinion Writer

I was only 10 years old when I heard about the first school shooting in my lifetime: Sandy Hook.

That should’ve been my first – and last time hearing of one.

“Never again,” they said.

But again and again, it happened. It’s still happening.

Fast forward about 10 years later. I’m a third-year college student, and I’ve lost count of how many school shootings there have been since I was that scared 10 year old.

I should be worried about my homework, social life and graduation – not my life being recklessly taken by a gun.

Unfortunately, though, this is the world I have learned to grow up in. Mass shootings were common when I was in elementary school, middle school, high school and now college.

I’ve grown up learning children being shot during recess is not as rare as I once thought.

“Ah, another one,” my mom sighs, watching the 6 p.m. newscast.

Is this normal? Short answer: no.

On an everyday basis, I feel pretty comfortable and safe on campus. Kent State University has been my home for the past three years. That’s what I like to call it: home. However, when a new mass shooting takes place (which is quite often), I become scared of my own home. Am I safe to go to class? Am I safe to walk freely on campus with my friends?

I’m sitting in my large Law of Mass Communication class shortly after hearing the news of the latest school massacre – Michigan State University. Three innocent lives were taken with others left in critical condition. A senseless act of evil yet again carried out with a deadly weapon.

A gun.

I scan the room, observing the other ninety-something students, and wonder if they’re thinking the same thing as me. How would I leave this classroom alive if a shooter came in? Do I even have a chance? I guess I could hide under my desk, but they’d get to me eventually…even if I do survive, I’d live with the trauma of hearing and watching my classmates die all around me.

Morbid, but realistic.

Within my three years at Kent State, I have yet to receive any safety training in case an instance such as this happens. I remember briefly taking an online course my freshman year, but what is a superficial course over the computer going to teach me about a real-life scenario? The most well-known training for these types of scenarios is ALICE Training: Alert, Lockdown, Information, Counter and Evacuation. If you live in America, you’ve been taught some variation of this training plan.

When the shooting was taking place on Michigan State’s campus, a campus-wide message was sent to all students:

“Run, hide, fight.”

This three-word phrase is now implanted in 38,000 Michigan State students’ minds.

I guess that really is all we can do now, right? Run…hide…fight. Seventy-one mass shootings in the new year of 2023, and all we can do is run, hide and fight.

I’ve given up on the government helping us. After all, corporations fund the government. You know a big one that helps out the good ol’ U.S. government? The National Rifle Association. The NRA spends roughly around $3 million a year to influence gun policy. Do you see how this isn’t quite a fair fight?

As a young, female Gen Z, I can sit here and talk about gun control all I want, but I’m afraid millions of people like me have already broadcasted those opinions and thoughts. Is there anything new I can add to the conversation? Everything has already been said.

So what’s the solution if the government won’t do anything? Clearly, watching innocent children get brutally murdered at the hands of a gun isn’t enough. Maybe taking away their money would make them more upset?

I sound angry, I know. But aren’t you angry as well? You should be.

Arielle Anderson, Alexandria Verner and Brian Fraser are the names to be added to the extensive list of lives lost from gun violence. Their blood is not only on the hands of the gunman but the hands of every U.S. government official who could have prevented this from happening again…and again.

Grace Clarke is an opinion writer. Contact her at [email protected]