MSU Shooting: Deja Vu for Two Survivors of School Gun Violence

Katie Denzin, who attended Saugus High School in California, holds a sign with current and former Michigan State University students during a rally at the capitol in Lansing, Mich., Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

By Public News Service

February 17, 2023

EAST LANSING—The deadly shooting spree at Michigan State University Monday night was another tragic American event involving guns. But for at least two MSU students, it brought up horrific memories.

A lone gunman opened fire at an academic building and the student union, killing three students and critically injuring five others. It was the second time two MSU students have lived through a school shooting.

Jackie Matthews was 11 years old when she hid in her classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012 as a gunman killed 20 of her classmates and six adults, including her teacher.

Matthews recounted her experience on social media.

“The fact that this is the second mass shooting that I have now lived through is incomprehensible,” said Matthews. “My heart goes out to all the families and the friends of the victims of this Michigan State shooting. But we can no longer just provide love and prayers. It needs to be legislation. It needs to be action. It’s not okay.”

A second MSU student—whose family asked that she remain anonymous—survived a November 2021 shooting at Oxford High School in suburban Detroit, where four students were killed and seven wounded.

Several other recent Oxford graduates are believed to be enrolled at MSU.

The shooting brought outrage and condemnations from political leaders and others, who once again called for tougher laws to prevent these incidents. Democratic US Rep. Elissa Slotkin represents Michigan’s 7th Congressional district, which includes the East Lansing campus.

She challenged her fellow lawmakers to take a stand.

“You either care about protecting kids or you don’t,” said Slotkin. “You either care about having an open, honest conversation about what is going on in our society, or you don’t. But please don’t tell me you care about the safety of children if you’re not willing to have a conversation about keeping them safe in a place that should be a sanctuary.”

Legislation to control firearms has stalled, both in Congress and the Michigan Legislature—though Democratic lawmakers have vowed to deliver more than empty words in order to prevent another tragedy.

READ MORE: ‘F—k Your Thoughts and Prayers’: Lawmakers Vow Action After Mass Shooting at MSU

“F—k your thoughts and prayers,” reads the opening line of a late-night statement from House Majority Whip Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton).

“ … Thoughts and prayers without action and change are meaningless. Our office will continue to work tirelessly to pass common sense gun reform immediately. We will not stop until our students can attend school without fear, our communities can attend places of worship in peace, and our society is safe from senseless gun violence.”

This coverage was provided by Public News Service.

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