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Students and faculty react to Florida shooting

February 23, 2018

Since the events that occurred in Florida last Wednesday, there has been debate and discussion on what should happen, why it happened, and the feelings that arose because of the incident. While this tragic shooting that took 17 lives on Feb. 14 happened in Florida, the Monmouth College community is not immune to the repercussions of this incident. Both students and faculty at Monmouth are diverse in their way of thinking and forming opinions, and views come from various points of the political spectrum.

From class discussions to using social media to voice opinions, Monmouth faculty and students are staying vocal about how they perceive the Florida shooting. Dr. Hayley Hawthorne, a professor in the Communication Studies department, discussed with her classes even before this event that she wonders how she will talk to her young children about school shootings, because she knows that it will be a topic she will have to explain to them. The shooting in Florida only confirmed that this issue will need to be dealt with. “I am increasingly terrified about the prospect of someone I love being killed by a mass shooter,” Hawthorne explained, “I do not want to be armed in the classroom…I don’t want to die at school leaving my kids without their mom.”

Hawthorne also has concerns about the way that people are talking about the issue. As someone who studies argumentation, she believes that the argumentation style that many use to talk about the event and the repercussions of it can be toxic, and that the main concern should be reaching a common ground between all sides of the issue.

From the Political Economy and Commerce department at Monmouth, adjunct professor Anthony Ricco was also concerned about the way that people talk about and frame the aftermath of the shooting. The tragedy, he believes, “is being politicized to the detriment of the nation.” Ricco explained that both sides of the argument have an agenda, and that they will both use the shooting in Florida for their own particular cause, which is “an unfortunate outcome.”

Like many on campus and around the nation, Ricco is a firm believer in the second amendment, and believes the rights established in it should be protected. He expressed that he would like to believe this incident could have been prevented, but is at the moment unsure if there is evidence to conclude that would have been possible. Ricco also said that he is not certain if the laws already set in place to prevent a tragedy like this were enforced.

From a student’s perspective, an event like this can affect every student differently. María Magallón is a current senior elementary education major at Monmouth. As a future educator, events like this can have a huge impact on her future career, knowing it is a very difficult topic that she may have to deal with at some point. Aspiring to teach in a grade school, Magallón explained, “I cannot imagine having this conversation with third graders…Schools are the one place some students feel safe, and to take this sense of safety away is horrific.”

There is also concern about the outcome if a situation like the Florida shooting happened on Monmouth’s campus. Andy Davis, director of Campus Safety explained, “Monmouth College is committed to creating a safe and secure environment and preparing for any emergency situations.” He says that local law enforcement does extensive training for active shooter situations, and that the campus alert system that is set in place should be sufficient in alerting students of a dangerous situation.

Davis would also encourage any concerned members of the Monmouth College community to consult the Department of Homeland Security website at in order to be better prepared for the potential of an active shooter. “The phrase ‘see something, say something’ is a good one to remember,” said Davis, “We want to provide support and care to a distressed student; in many cases, they are not well connected and they are struggling.”

Events like this have the power to change opinion, as can be seen from Monmouth senior, Emily Manassah. Like many others, Manassah chose to take her perspective to Twitter, writing, “Naively, I used to be super against gun control (if I’m being honest) but mass shooting after mass shooting, I’ve reached the conclusion that no one NEEDS an AR-15; they should be banned.”

Similar to Manassah, Stephanie Saey also used the social media platform to voice her thoughts on the issue of gun control. The Monmouth senior tweeted on Feb. 15, “Unpopular opinion: Innocent lives were recently taken by BULLETS from a GUN. Oh wait, that’s not an opinion. #GunReformNow”

Kaelin Sommer
News Editor

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