Last night, I would gawk at the news from time to time thinking, scrolling through my Twitter feed, and would tragically watch eyewitness videos about the tragic shooting occurrence with yet another shooting on a college campus. This time it was at Michigan State University, and after 3 were killed and several people were injured in the carnage that happened on the university's on-campus housing, I scrolled through Tweet after Tweet and I saw the same things. The police, journalists, and even high-ranking university officials were "doing a great, professional job their work tonight."
I wondered about this quote over and over again as the night progressed, until you listen to the Broadcastify radio transmissions between MSU Police and other task forces on the scene, then you will see what I mean.
The quote didn't just mean police officers, it also meant journalists, which one reporter said, "Stay safe reporting tonight and always be aware," and it also meant police units, and even Barstool Sports Michigan State were keeping the community safe in a time of so much tragedy. Everything but the message from the university's EText alerts, which are also used at Indiana University, that said, "Run Hide Fight," were the correct ways to respond to a dangerous, almost life changing situation that night. The officers stayed diligent, calmer for the heat of the moment than I would have been, and the media, yes, the media, were more trustworthy last night than they would have been on a 6 a.m. news jump.
The way the Michigan State Police, campus police, university officials, and even the likings of, as mentioned Barstool Sports, displayed the proudest example of man and community.
This is material that is lectured on while using amateur radio, or Ham Radio, to use calling signals to keep others safe, but I have not seen a task force act so quick in this high octane, adrenaline filled situation. Officials were professional, more than in any other U.S. mass school shooting in history because they are aware of the dangers and the outcomes that come with getting people out and people safe.
The media broke the story, and the journalists who were on the ground, some of them were students in the line of danger. I looked through Michigan State's student newspaper, "The State News," and just like the man-in-the-sewer situation that took place in September 2022 on the campus of Indiana University, student reporters, who I value and respect as a student journalist myself who craves news and information like a sponge, went to work reporting around the clock on and off of campus. Every student writing was involved in one way or another in reporting this tragic tale.
Alex Walters and Miranda Dunlap were two writers I gravitated towards during this incident. Both are staff writers for "The State News" and their staff put out stories and presented each tale from students being traumatized by the incident, some processing the incident while thinking back on the Oxford High School shooting two years ago, to the memorial services today on campus, from information about classes and even on campus sporting events cancelled due to the shooting, the staff were and are industry professionals from one story to the next. As a former staff writer for multiple publications before I switched to freelance reporting, even some stints on the The Hoosier Network from time to time, the way these stories were told in the moment where you want to cry and tear up, even let yourself go at the end of the day, these industry professionals will be seen & heard by millions of alumni, students, even the average public.
After being on campus during the man-in-the-sewer incident at IU, as my mom would call it, "The Teenage Mutian Ninga Turtle incident," I met reporters, even while working remotely at the time, who wanted to vent their feelings out at the end of the night, but their pure, calm demenor to a partial city incident, at the depths they went in their reporting on this incident, where a homeless man from Montgomery, Ind. went down into the city sewers for over six hours and almost the whole afternoon on a sunny day in September 2022, was not only lifechanging to be a part of, but also extremely nerveracking.
An anchor is different than a news reporter for many of us professionals, or soon to be professionals, we know the importance of student journalism, and reporting on maybe what's happening on the campus dining hall renovations or how the baseball team will do this year, but you learn very quickly how to act, how to behave, how to break the story, how to properly comfort others, and even how to socialize in life threatening moments where either I will be killed on assignment or my colleagues will be killed.
These reporters, and all reporters not just on "The State News," but on other student publications on campus, but even Barstool Sports MSU of all people, handled themselves like professionals. Us reporters know the trick even in a world changing situation, and I always go by this model which helped me navigate what was going on on our college campus once when I was at IU (as I mentioned with the Ninja Turtle incident), No panic, just report, comfort, report, send, type, photography, video tape, audio record, edit, conclude, go to meetings, journal, write on a pen, laptop, or pen and pad till your hand turns pink, ask, ask, and ask some more, crave information, expunge false beliefs, and when it is all set and done, stay alert and report some more the next day because as my newspaper teacher in high school would always say, "The news never sleeps."
But that doesn't mean that there will be ramifications going forward with investigations on what particularly happened during this incident. The usage of "Run, Hide, Fight" by university alert systems should be questioned by many people involved, but one thing and one thing is for sure, as said by one student on campus, "We're all broken."
There is a broken piece of America every time a shooting like this happens, and I don't know what is going on on Valentine's Day or Christmas to just set these shooters off, and go bezerk at their school causing rampages that have gotten worse... a lot worse since the other shooting that happened five years ago today at a high school in Parkland, Fla.. I was a member of the March for Our Lives group at my high school, Bloomington High School South in 2018 after the deadly shooting. My views on politics, race, even gun control has changed drastically since I was a big dude who supported Joe Biden, attempted suicide, and was on wrap around program after wrap around program, being the leftist, feminine trigger monster I was in high school, but one thing is for sure since I left high school and have been in college for three years:
Race is discriminatory in gun violence, and it shows how fallen our politicians are in America. Today, being Valentine's Day, I bet our nation's politicians can't think twice about gun control, because we have a self centered government fighting for the community bench or profiting to Ukraine, not what is going on on our their home soil. It has been a disaster, and even when former President Barack Obama tried to pass an nonpartisian agreement to have safer gun control laws in 2015, before Congress convened again last year for more stricter gun control laws, he even couldn't get Congressional leaders to agree on this agreement. It seems like the attacks on January 6, 2021, where guns were used and demonstrators invaded the Capital, didn't scare them enough either.
They're hollow Easter bunnies, and soleless to the American ideals of hope and freedom.
When I think of Michigan State, I think of three things. Tom Izzo, the legendary head basketball coach for the Spartans of over 30 years, The Battle for the Old Brass Spittoon Trophy which Indiana University Bloomington and MSU fight for every year since its inception in 1922, and of course, winning against them in basketball. Basically I loved seeing Michigan State lose in all sports, but not after last night.
I now stand united with Michigan State University our Big Ten brothers, rivals, are now our friends in this time of unity through tragedy. In the end, if America can be this united in tragedy, all of our media works will work, and our system is set up to save and protect, we would live in a more just world, and Michigan State's response and recovery were professional and swift.
That is how every bit of action should be, swift and safe.
Say prayers for the Michigan State University community, even as an IU fan, we will love you no matter what. To the four victims families and to those injured, I lit a candle at the church, although I am tired of doing it, I hope this fire, this light, can spark action in gun control laws and authority.
All in all, enough is enough with these shootings. Let's spark some change.