I am a college student in the city of Philadelphia. I say that with moderate hesitation after Sunday’s threat against Philadelphia higher education. For those who don’t know, a vague threat was posted on the anonymous website 4Chan for 2 pm eastern time Monday regarding universities near the city of Philadelphia.
My Monday classes begin at 1:30 pm. While I saw a few Facebook statuses expressing individual’s concerns about their safety in attending class Monday, I didn’t think much of it. Within the past three years, I’ve been in a lockdown in my high school for a possible weapon, threatened as a member of the Greek community at my previous university, and now threatened as a student in the city of Philadelphia. Excuse me if these empty threats no longer send sweat beads running down my back.
My 1:30 pm Monday macroeconomics professor began the class with a lighthearted joke, “well, it’s been nice knowing you all.” Some students laughed, while some students shifted in their seats. Her joke made me think of how tragically common threats against higher education, or even the general public, have become within the past few years.
As a college student, my largest daily concerns should consist of “should I pull an all nighter to pass this business law exam tomorrow?” and “how do I bribe the admissions board of my future law school?” (I’m half joking on that one). Instead, lately students’ concerns have escalated to the question “will I got shot for attending my classes today?” Why are we being reprimanded for pursuing a higher degree of education?
College should be a time of excitement- it is the beginning of the rest of our lives. Instead, Oregon community college students saw the end of their lives just a week ago. Nine lives were tragically cut short that day. Today, I have been sent various links to the alleged gunman at Philadelphia Community College. Where does it end?
Shootings are not exclusive- they do not discriminate. The victims of these shooters range in age from elementary school students to elders in a church.
The United States is responsible for 31% of global mass shootings between the years of 1966 and 2012, with mass shooting defined as four or more victims.
Between 2000 and 2014, the United States has seen 133 mass shootings resulting in 487 deaths.
Generation Z, we are responsible for the future. Do you want our children to experience more intruder drills in school than fire drills? The world is changing, but we have the power and the numbers to fight back on the unnecessary violence we are threatened by daily. We have a voice.
Let’s take back our schools, our churches, our communities.
Let’s take back our lives.