The country is yet again mourning lives lost after another mass shooting took place at a school. Three Michigan State University students were killed on campus Monday night, police said, in an incident that left five others critically wounded. According to MSU Interim Deputy Police Chief Chris Rozman, the gunman, identified as 43-year-old Anthony Dwayne McRae, was not affiliated with the university and died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
At this time, his intent or reason to shoot students at the school remains unclear. According to CCN, McRae opened fire at two locations on the campus of about 50,000 students. The attack occurred hours before the five-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
At this time, officials have only identified two of the three victims who were killed: Brian Fraser an MSU sophomore from Grosse Pointe; and Alexandria Verner, an MSU junior from Clawson, Michigan. The third victim's name hasn't been publicly released.
While it’s horrific and chilling to hear that another mass shooting took place at a U.S. school, what’s even more tragic and heartbreaking is one of the students who survived the Michigan State University shooting was also a survivor of the Sandy Hook massacre over 10 years ago.
“I am 21 years old, and this is the second mass shooting that I have now lived through,” Jackie Matthews said in an emotional TikTok video shared Tuesday.
Now a senior at MSU, Matthews was a student at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012, when gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 students and six teachers and staff—including her first-grade teacher.
“The fact that this is the second mass shooting that I have now lived through is incomprehensible,” Matthews said. “My heart goes out to all the families and the friends of the Michigan State shooting. But we can no longer just provide love and prayers. It needs to be legislation, it needs to be action. It’s not okay. We can no longer allow this to happen. We can no longer be complacent.”
Several lawmakers reiterated Matthews’ sentiments, noting that thoughts and prayers were no longer enough. One even went as far as to say “fuck your thoughts and prayers,” noting that action, not prayers were needed.
“What happened in East Lansing is unfortunately far too common. Going to school in America, whether it’s pre-school or college, means risking your life every day to the threat of a mass shooting. Yet all we have offered up are empty solutions—traumatizing active shooter drills and bulletproof backpacks. We do not need to live like this. The United States is the only country where this happens,” Michigan state Rep. Ranjeev Puri said in a statement posted to Twitter.
“Thoughts and prayers without action and change are meaningless,” Puri said, noting the number of mass shootings that have occurred this year in the U.S. alone.
Acknowledging mass shootings in the U.S. has a pattern of people mourning the losses, officials posting to social media offering thoughts and prayers, yet no action being taken as a whole to prevent them
President Joe Biden also commented on the shooting Tuesday and called for Congress to act, noting that 'action is what we owe' those grieving.
“The fact that this shooting took place the night before this country marks five years since the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, should cause every American to exclaim ‘enough’ and demand that Congress take action,” Biden said.
“As I said in my State of the Union address last week, Congress must do something and enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, closing loopholes in our background check system, requiring safe storage of guns and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets. Action is what we owe to those grieving today in Michigan and across America.”
According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, Monday marked the 67th mass shooting in the U.S. 2023.
In 2022, there were more than 600 mass shootings in the U.S. in which at least four people were killed or wounded, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
In Michigan alone, residents are still processing a previous mass shooting that took place in November 2021 at Oxford High School. According to CNN, that shooting left four students dead and six others injured.
In coverage of the MSU attack, one student who witnessed the shooting can even be seen wearing a shirt in remembrance of the Oxford High shooting.
“As a representative of Oxford, Michigan, I cannot believe that I’m here again doing this 15 months later,” U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin said at a Tuesday news conference. “And I am filled with rage that we have to have another press conference to talk about our children being killed in their schools.”
Slotkin added that there are children in Michigan “who are living through their second school shooting in under a year and a half. If this is not a wake-up call to do something, I don’t know what is.”