OPINION: Why Should I go Back On Campus?

The good thing about the pandemic is that we forgot about the shootings for a little while


Graphic by Abraham Navarro/SAC.Media

It isn’t ever going to be safe enough to return to campus. People going back into public spaces like schools and movie theaters marks the return of our shared American pastime: mass shootings.

Being a student in America right now is already hard enough. I’m finishing my last semester at my community college on my laptop. I wake up and roll over to the homework side of the bed. I have to deal with a global pandemic while I try to get my degree, and now the shootings are back.

COVID threw us all a curveball, but now we’re slowly starting to return as a society. There are more cars on the street, and there are definitely more people spending time out in the open.
Two months ago when we would take a trip to the store all I had to worry about was keeping my hands clean and away from my face. Now, I’m back to how I was before.

After the Parkland shooting, I went out to a play for school. My mom called me and she told me, “If anything happens just get under the table, ok? I love you.” So I’m always on the lookout for the exit, I take an extra second to look at everyone who walks in the room and I stopped listening to music in public. I haven’t owned earbuds since 2018.

It’s just part of our culture at this point. To the outside world, above all else, the major stereotype is the shootings here in America. It’s the end of March, the third month of the year, and already we have had the 107th mass shooting of the year in Boulder. Let me put that into perspective for you: we are on day 86 of the year as I write this.

It’s too much at this point. I’m tired of the constant fear that I get whenever I go out. The tables are never thick enough to catch bullets and I find myself thinking about the “goodbye” text I would send way too much.

Are you willing to come back on campus for classes?


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Nobody should have to worry this much, but we have a country full of people who need to. America: the land of the free, the home of the brave and the natural habitat of the bullet sponge.

As a student, the fear is so much more present at school, where we are surrounded regularly by hundreds of people. They group us in rooms of 20 or 30. Often, these rooms don’t have a dedicated exit.

When I think back to the big stories and events of our generation, 90% of the moments that come to my mind are school shootings. Why would I EVER feel safe in a school?
And it feels like we do nothing.

Since before I was born (Aug. 30, 1999) mass shootings have been part of the national debate (Columbine High School Massacre: April 20, 1999). As far back as I can remember, there has always been some kind of really sad shooting in the world. Thinking back, it was normal. So why does it still feel like we’re just waiting around and doing nothing?

I could be shopping for vegetables tomorrow and be lethally punctured, and my life will spurt out onto the floor around me. I’d be left to soak in my blood, or maybe the blood of others on the floor of my Walmart. I can just picture it: on the floor by the fridge where I always get my chicken, next to my brother because my mom always sends both of us. They would leave us for hours before they pick us up. They would take the person’s guns away and gently guide him through the doors, stepping over me and my brother. We’d never be able to hear just how much they would cry for us, but we know that our family shouldn’t ever need to.

This is not an irrational fear. It’s perfectly justified. We are students. Our names were written on our birth certificates, meaning that we were born in America and we should be proud to live here. But they might write our names in twitter bios and etch it in tombstones. My name could end up on a list somewhere. It could go on a gofundme for my funeral. They might have to scrawl my name on a picket sign and drag it to a protest that will change nothing. However, I remain hopeful that maybe they’ll be able to sign it on a degree.