Too Close For Comfort

02.12.13

Gun Violence Just Hit My Campus

Monday night, there was a murder suicide at the University of Maryland (where I currently attend).

The shooter reportedly lit a small fire in his basement, which prompted two of his roommates to go downstairs and see what was happening. The three students went to the front of the home, where the shooter shot one roommate and then the other when he tried to flee. He then went to the back of the home and shot himself, police said.

One of the students shot was reported dead on the scene, and the other one remains in the hospital.

At around 1:15 AM, I received a message blast from the University alerting me that this had happened. As I stared at the message, every single feeling I had held previously about guns in America was thrown out the window. When I think about Aurora or Newtown, yes, they are tragic random acts of violence, but I am able to shrug them off and see them as only that – unfortunate and tragic events from which I am separated.

Gun rights activists have been saying that it is not a gun problem in this country, but a mental illness problem.

No, at the University of Maryland, more attention to mental illness could not have stopped this. In the post-Virginia Tech world, large universities, such as UMD, have what are arguably the most comprehensive systems in place to combat depression and feelings of suicide.

Due to its location within Prince Georges County, Maryland, the University of Maryland has never been the safest place in the world. There is a reason why I keep a bb gun in my nightstand that could easily be mistaken for a handgun. But this was not an armed robbery. It is not something that a hunting knife or a fake handgun could have prevented, which are my personal ‘means of defending myself.’

Until today I believed that the Second Amendment had a point. I thought that a balance could be struck between gun owners and those in favor of strict gun control. But then reality arrived at my campus.