Column: A GV Journalism Student’s View on MSU Shooting

Sara Collins, Guest Columnist

This is a feeling we have felt before.

Walking onto Grand Valley State University’s campus the day after a school shooting, much too close to home, feeling the sun shining on a day that doesn’t feel as warm and bright as it normally does, looking at classmates sitting beside us and knowing they are thinking the same thing that continues to repeat itself over and over again in our own minds.

The day after the mass shooting at Oxford High School, I sat on the main floor of Mary Idema Pew Library staring at the door. My friends sat in their classrooms in Au Sable, Lake Superior, Lake Ontario, visualizing their exact escape routes if need be. We enter into our first day of classes each semester with these exact thought processes. Escape routes, safety plans, thoughts of how we would strategically take down a murderer if they ever stepped foot on our campus.

It is February 14, 2023 as I am writing this. We are 45 days into 2023 and there have been 67 mass shootings in the United States this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

The Michigan State University shooting was far too close to our home base. I am currently a senior at GVSU, studying Multimedia Journalism and my fellow journalism friends are angry. Our group chat roared with fear as we tuned into the Great Lansing Area Public Safety Live Audio.

“When is it going to stop? What’s it going to take? When are we going to learn?” said one student.

“This is so devastating to hear,” said another.

A recent Grand Valley student shared her family’s worries regarding her younger brother, who is living in the dorms on MSU’s campus. Another student shared her concerns about her two friends locked down on MSU’s campus.

This small group of GVSU students is among several of our fellow classmates that have connections to those traumatized by Monday night’s events.

These school shootings continue to happen constantly and I have recognized the desensitization from journalists covering them.

Live news vans from several local news stations around the country rushed to the MSU campus to cover the event. When the shooting first began, parents and loved ones were
strongly advised not to step foot on the campus for any reason. The area was shut down, but not to reporters.

Many journalists turned on their cameras, put microphones in front of students’ faces and began asking questions. The answers from the students held fear and confusion. Many students were at a loss for words.

The time stamps revealed the interviews were occurring during the lockdown, prior to the shooter killing himself. He was still on the run.

This lack of compassion towards students must create some kind of redirection and self-reflection from every news station that entered the college campus actively on lockdown.

The students just experienced one of, if not the, most traumatic experience of their lives and their trauma was turned into a news story.

I will always advocate for local news and the power it has to filter misinformation and inform the public, especially in a situation like this where social media plays a large role. Although, the interviews began far too soon.

I recently uploaded a TikTok discussing this viewpoint and the comments have flooded with MSU students agreeing.

“These shootings happen so often and everyone’s so desensitized to it that the victims aren’t even seen as people anymore,” said one user.

Another user shared, “MSU student. Things were so crazy and all the reporting just made it feel worse on top of the dread.”

There seems to be a lack of compassion, whether it was purposeful or not. What we can do as GVSU students, where this is too close to home, is show compassion. Everyone has connections to victims or friends or family members of victims.

Michigan State University, we are so sorry that this happened to you. Share your stories whenever you’re ready. And if you are never ready, that’s okay, too.

Editor’s Note: Numbers and dates included in this column reflect the time and day the column was written: Feb. 14, 2023.