On February 13th, just hours before Valentine’s Day, Michigan State University (MSU) student Jackie Matthews received a warning she was all too familiar with when an active shooter was reportedly on the loose on campus grounds. The shooter, Anthony McRae, killed three students and injured another five.
It’s the second such occurrence she was forced to witness, the first coming in 2012 as a student at Sandy Hook Elementary School – when an active shooter, Adam Lanza, killed 26 people (most of which were young students between six and seven years old). Now, more than 10 years later, it happened again.
While she made it out of both shootings unharmed (physically), the mental and emotional trauma is something she’ll have to live with for the rest of her life as she fears a third occurrence. On February 14th, she spoke with TODAY.com about the thoughts that were going through her head this time around.
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“What was going through my mind was: ‘Are my friends OK? Are my professors OK? Who at Michigan State is being affected? Immediately after, I was just heartbroken that another community will have to try and recover from such a tragic experience,” she explained, adding she was both angry and heartbroken.
Matthews went on to express how unfortunate it is that students can’t attend school today without the fear of an active shooter ending the lives of innocent people – after all, it’s a place where children, teens, and young adults should feel safe. “It just makes me want to do more and do better,” she admitted to TODAY.
And it appears she’s not alone in experiencing her second mass shooting. Several photos surfaced of MSU students being escorted out of a campus building – some of which were wearing ‘Oxford Strong’ shirts. In Nov. 2021, a 15-year-old killed four students and injured another seven at Oxford High School.
“I mean, there are many Oxford students who attend Michigan State and many people who have reached out to me, saying that I am not one only one who has experienced this,” added Matthews. It’s a sad and harsh reality that’s becoming the norm for many students today as gun violence reaches an all-time high.
Jackie Matthews Takes to TikTok Hours After the MSU Shooting
It was one o’clock in the morning – just hours after the MSU shooting occurred – when Jackie Matthews posted a video on TikTok urging others to take action against the violence students are forced to live through each and every day. At a time when most students are asleep, many were fleeing for their life.
“The fact that this is the second mass shooting that I have now lived through is incomprehensible,” she said in the video. “We can no longer just provide love and prayers. It needs to be legislation; it needs to be action. It’s not okay. We can no longer allow this to happen. We can no longer be complacent.”
In the wake of the shooting, Matthews is letting all of her friends and fellow classmates know that she stands with them and can be used as a support outlet. She not only understands what it’s like from past experience, but she feels just as afraid as everyone else to return to MSU, knowing it could happen again.
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She believes the only way they’ll get through this tragedy is through the power of community. She’s asking her community to stay persistent and remain strong, much like her Newton community was after the Sandy Hook shooting. “All we can do is hope that this will eventually end,” she continued.
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