The events at Michigan State University last night left me speechless, devastated and heartbroken. While I do not attend Michigan State University, my boyfriend does; I cannot imagine what he and his community are going through.

I am a public health major at Purdue University. Gun violence is an issue that we discuss frequently in my public health classes, especially in regard to gun violence being a public health crisis. 

It has always been a topic of discussion, but never one in which I have had an emotional connection. I am guilty of being numb to the tragedies. I have attended school during Sandy Hook, Parkland and Uvedale. I have learned to use my desk as a barricade during active shooters drills. 

These events are hardly ever talked about and are just accepted. Today, not a single professor of mine mentioned the Michigan State shooting. We did not get a letter from the university. And we surely did not get extensions on assignments or exams. Purdue University is not immune to the gun violence epidemic, so why the silence?

I study at Purdue’s Union like many other students do at their schools. One of the places that the shooting occurred was at Michigan State’s Union. The gunman walked into the building and opened fire. 

This could have happened to anyone anywhere at any time, so why the silence? Why do we not talk about it? Why do we continue on like it will not happen to us? It should not take personal encounters with gun violence for people to open their eyes to the issue.

I do understand that this issue is larger than the ineptitude of policymakers and legislative officials. While I do believe gun violence is a public health issue, I believe that mental health is the underlying factor that perpetuates it. You have to be a disturbed individual to commit harm to another person. 

The father of the gunman issued a wellness check on him the week prior. These need to be taken seriously and follow up needs to occur. Individuals need to do their part in “if you see something, then say something.” 

We need to look out for each other. It could happen to any of us. We need to stop being silent. We need to stop becoming numb to these issues.

Abigail Higgins, Brookfield