Editorial | MSU shooting reinforces need for comprehensive gun control


Photo courtesy of The State News

Students at Michigan State University painted the Rock, a campus landmark painted frequently to represent the thoughts of the community, with messages of hope following the recent shooting.

At Michigan State University, there is a large rock, known as “The Rock,” which serves as a campus landmark. The rock’s purpose is to be a canvas, where students paint it with their thoughts, and the art is different every day. 

On Tuesday morning, the message painted on The Rock asked a question students at all levels of education in America ask: “How many more?” 

Monday evening around 8:30 p.m., three students were killed and five were injured when a man with no university affiliation opened fire on the East Lansing campus, committing the 77th mass shooting this year in the U.S. The man, Anthony McRae, was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His motive remains unknown.

In the aftermath of the shooting, classes, sporting events and all other activities were suspended and continue to remain so. Many students also fled campus, no longer feeling safe in the community. Both students and their parents are facing the emotional impacts of the traumatic situation. 

The Daily Illini staff heard the news of the shooting as soon as it happened. Mass shootings, especially ones that take place at schools, are never going to be an easy thing to deal with. 

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Alongside MSU, we mourn the loss of the students, and we grieve for the surrounding community. We send our condolences, and we hope the community continues to find strength, resilience and peace among each other. 

We also hope that in the wake of the shooting, more people will see the immense need this country has for comprehensive gun control laws. 

On Wednesday morning, the question on The Rock, “How many more?” was painted over with a different and pro-gun message: “Allow us to defend ourselves & carry on campus.” 

In the wake of the shooting, legislators in Michigan took to press conferences and social media to call for a change in gun control laws. Michigan State Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks, a Democrat, said the Senate would be taking up gun control measures such as tougher background checks and safe storage laws. 

But like all mass shootings that have happened before, even though there is talk about change, the question is whether or not legislators will actually take the steps necessary to bring it about.

And most of us know the answer: No. No, they won’t. Instead, we’re left wondering how many more will be murdered before something changes. Instead, we’re left with thoughts and prayers, school-wide intruder drills and a shared fear that we could be next.

Wednesday morning, University of Illinois students woke up to a lukewarm Massmail from Chancellor Jones addressing the MSU shooting with the same sentiments — thoughts and prayers. The email skirted around the topic of gun violence, and it failed to mention why we are mourning in the first place. 

The shooting victims — sophomore Brian Fraser and juniors Alexandria Verner and Arielle Anderson — were all undergraduate students just like us. 

Like us, they crammed for finals, went out with their friends and pursued higher education, which is a place where students should feel safe to learn. 

Their lives were cut short due to senseless gun violence. This is a tragedy that could happen on any campus, including ours. 

Some of the students who attend MSU were also involved in the Oxford High School shooting in 2021. Those students had to live through the same traumatic experience twice.

It’s sickening and disheartening that American students at all levels of education are forced to deal with this very real threat every time they walk into a classroom. Policy must be implemented to restrict access to guns and proactively prevent another tragedy like this. This should not be the norm.

After seeing the pro-gun sentiment painted on The Rock, three MSU students painted over the second message. The Rock now says “To those we lost. To those healing. Brian. Arielle. Alexandria.”

Those names shouldn’t have had to be painted on The Rock. Our generation has grown up with trauma from the potential threat of a campus shooting event happening at any time. If nothing changes, the next generation will live in fear, too.


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