On Oct. 1, 2015, a gunman opened fire on the Umpqua Community College Campus in Roseburg, Ore. The death toll reached 10, the wounded tallied up to seven and the amount of people affected remains uncountable. Since 1996, there has been at least one mass shooting per year in America.
The word “massacre” has surely become no stranger to us. But, there is something so devastatingly heartbreaking about the words “massacre” or “rampage” when they are following up the words “college” or “campus.”
As college students, we are more than aware that there is not a day that goes by where we don’t wake up thinking, “I can just miss my classes today and stay in bed.”
On Oct. 1, 10 students chose to get up and pull themselves away from their comforts in order to strive for a better future.
They put getting an education above all of the other countless easier and, arguably, more enjoyable options of things to do with their time, like every one of us chooses to do daily.
If there is any place that should be a sanctuary, it should be the places in which people are willingly going to get an education.
Lately, in this country, we have seen that the classroom has become one of the biggest playgrounds for murder.
For the Umpqua Community College murderer, though, his motive was clear. Not only did those 10 people die for being students, but they died for practicing a religion. As if it were straight out of a horror film or the chapters in our history books we wince at when we study, innocent Americans were the targets of devastating violence because they openly, and in this case literally, stood up for their faith.
We attend a university that has a church as the geographical center of our campus.
However, with the crosses hanging above every classroom door we walk into, with the mandatory three theology courses in our schedules and with the word “Vincentian” engraved in our purpose, it is very clear that the church is also the center of our education.
So, while the country is debating gun laws and policies and political parties point their fingers at each other, as fellow students who are embedded in a faith we should come together and recognize with empathy and outrage not only the lives that were lost, but the vulnerability it has left us.