*This article contains sensitive subject matter about death.

Earlier this week, tragedy struck Michigan State University (MSU), as an armed gunman attacked the campus.

The shooting left three students killed, with five more in critical condition. The stories that surfaced from the event were all too familiar to many Americans, featuring brave students helping each other, jumping from windows, trying to stay alive and the tragic loss of life as a result of a nation that refuses to confront gun control.

The students that lost their lives were Arielle Anderson, Brian Fraser and Alexandria Verner. They were simply college students that had their entire lives ahead of them. They did not deserve what happened to them; nobody deserves something like this to happen to them. Colleges, and schools at large, are meant to be a place for students to gain an education. It should be a safe space, not a place where students must fear for their lives.

The shooter in the case of MSU was found by authorities, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. On the part of MSU, things were handled swiftly, with students and faculty setting up “shelter-in-place” locations to keep people out of harm’s way. In addition, emergency alerts were sent out to inform students and staff about the situation. Perhaps the only bright spot in this situation is how quickly the campus mobilized to prevent further loss of life.

Despite that, this situation is still tragic and should not have happened. A campus should not be required to have practices in place to protect students from a shooting, but it is something that has become far too common to ignore.

This act of violence is not even the first school shooting in 2023, let alone the first instance of a shooting. According to CNN, there have been 12 school shootings this year, with the events at MSU marking the first at a university or college campus, with it being the 68th mass shooting of the year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Let those numbers sink in. In just a month and a half, 67 different places have been targets of shootings. It has become infinitely clear, as it has been for some time, that it is time to do something about gun violence.

It can be easy for students and faculty like us at IUP to see these stories and statistics, but move on from them. After all, nobody every expects their school to be the place to be targeted. But the reality is that our sense of security is incredibly fickle.

Let’s rewind to last semester. In September, the Tuesday after the Sept. 24 shooting at Kennywood in Pittsburgh, there was a “anonymous threat of violence” on IUP’s campus. There was very little information released by the university, but students, through the use of social media, knew a lot about the situation, and spread it around. This shows that, as bad as it is, IUP, or any campus for that matter, is not truly safe from this kind of attack.

The question then becomes, what can be done about it? Here at IUP, there is information available as to what students are to do in the case of an active shooter, with a similar setup to the MSU emergency protocol. In addition to that, IUP, just like MSU, states the importance of running, hiding and, as a last resort, fighting back.

While there are rules and protocols in place at IUP, this does not address the overall issues pertaining to gun violence that has plagued American schools since the infamous Columbine High School shooting in 1999, with there being incidents that even preceded that tragedy.

This editorial will not have the answers to gun violence. Simply put, there is no way for it to be solved unless sweeping action is taken to reform American society as a whole. It is something that must be faced head on and confronted, simple thoughts and prayers will do nothing. They are a hollow phrase meant to be repeated and subsequently forgotten.

How many more students will have to die before we as a country have the courage to face gun violence?

We at The Penn offer our condolences to the families of the victims, as well as the students, staff and other members of the MSU community that dealt with this tragedy.

Enough is enough.

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