A gunman began firing upon students on Michigan State University’s campus late Monday night.
The latest instance of mass gun violence in the United States yet again leaves the nation under a scope of scrutiny. As the nation continues to bestow “thoughts and prayers” upon the victims and affected families of gun violence, we are simultaneously forced to accept a reality where we can be shot any time we leave our homes, and in some cases, even the inside of your home has not proven to be safe.
The university sent out an eerie alert message to students saying “run, hide, fight” as law enforcement officials set out to deter the shooter.
The gunman began shooting at one of the university’s student residence halls, Berkey Hall, where two victims were found dead. Successively, the assailant proceeded to the MSU Union, killing another student in the process.
During the shooting, law enforcement officials were scrambling to figure out the locations, motives, and identity of the shooter while simultaneously struggling to guide students to safety.
However, following a night-long investigation and search the gunman’s identity has been revealed as 43-year-old Anthony McRae.
When police found him at an off-campus site, he was already deceased. Considering the location of the gunshot wound and the precedent of other shooters, officials believe McRae committed suicide to avoid persecution and accountability.
The shooter was able to murder three students and critically wound five others before the threat was neutralized. Unfortunately, investigators are still unable to determine a motive, as McRae had no apparent affiliation with either MSU or any of its students as of the time of writing.
Even if investigators are unable to draw a correlation between the attacker and institutions based in Michigan before the shooting McRae wrote a note, threatening New Jersey schools. Investigations also revealed that he had a documented history of mental health issues before the tragedy took place.
Mayor of Lansing, Andy Schor, told reporters with ABC news that it is simply a “terrible time”.
“No mayor, no governor, no elected official ever wants to be up all night or wake up to a situation like this”, he said.
Scarily, students at the university say they were left in a flurry of panic due to a lack of information on the shooter’s actions around campus. Local police and representatives of the university were unable to provide active updates or even prevented some students from barricading themselves in their current locations.
This tragedy marks the 67th mass shooting that has taken place in the United States since 2023 began. The scope of this attack’s havoc and pressure from the affected community will likely produce more debates surrounding the extent of legislative rights for citizens who seek to bear arms. Additionally, the shooting falls on the anniversary of the Parkland massacre in 2018, which claimed the lives of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and injured 17 others. A common theme among these attacks has been an inability to properly prevent a crime even when credible evidence which suggests otherwise has been put forward.
Had investigators been more alert following McRae’s notes, or more diligent with the threats of Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz, many lives could have been saved in both instances. Unfortunately, Americans and the rest of the world will be forced to watch these tragedies continue until U.S. legislators act upon the decades-long data and evidence right in front of them.
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