One Week After: Students React To NAU Shooting
One week ago, gunfire broke the early morning quiet on the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. A fight between two groups of students turned deadly when one of them - an 18 year old freshman - drew a gun and opened fire, killing one student and wounding three others. It was the first school shooting in NAU's 116 year history. Over the last week, students have been coming to terms with the tragedy, and wondering about their safety, talking about gun control. Arizona Public Radio's Justin Regan spoke with some of them and produced this audio postcard.
Mitch Burke, NAU junior, Business Management major
I was in my bed. I woke up - I slept in a little bit that day - to, I think, 15 text messages and, I think, 10 missed calls. I just didn't know what was going on. Just a few Google searches later I was fully aware of the situation and frantically calling all my relatives, making sure that they knew I was ok and not involved in anything. I was about a half mile away from where the shooting actually happened, and having something like this happen so close really makes you a lot angrier about the situation.
I think the part that irks me the most is that a month from now no one's going to care because we've just had so many shootings in the past years, that it's going to be in the news for a few weeks here and a month from now nobody will even remember that NAU had a shooting. And it's just going to go on to the next shooting that will inevitably happen in a few months time. It's just heartbreaking to know that we're just in this awful cycle that nothing will really change unless real change happens.
Bonnie Linford, English major
Friday and Saturday it was just really eerie around campus and everybody was, like, just inside. Just even going to the Hot Spot for lunch was like, kind of a big deal because everyone was so shocked about the whole thing, but now it's, like, everybody's coming back together. I think we're all kind of, not bonding over this, but connecting and growing stronger because of it.
It's really saddening to me because we used to be, like, such a safe environment; people would come and relax, it's like a vacation city, we come here to learn. And, we were put in danger, and the whole national spotlight? We're included in that now and that's really sad to me, especially since, like, people never think it's going to happen to you or it's never going to happen at your school, and now it has. It's definitely changed my view of NAU. I still love this school, but it's just really upsetting and sad.
Dakota Wilson, NAU freshman, Sociology major
The fact that there are people that we don't know that have guns on this campus kind of freaks me out a little bit. We shouldn't just have guns. We're young, we're young adults, our frontal lobes aren't fully developed, we shouldn't be carrying around guns. Really, like, the shooting just really heightened my intensity for gun control, like, can we talk about gun control now? Stop running away from it. We need to talk about gun control.
J.C. Soto, NAU junior, Criminal Justice major
You know, I think the police response was great. I think the NAUPD did a great job securing the location, making sure no additional people were getting hurt, or anything like that.
When something like this happens like a shooting - and I actually am a gun owner - like, I know the destructive power of a weapon, but I also know the appreciation for it and this makes me think of people who use these weapons and don't have an appreciation for them. I've seen weapons take animal lives. I can't imagine ever pointing at a human being unless I actually needed to kill them.
You know what? I think it would be great to come together as a community and help those people who are still injured; maybe it might be medical bills, maybe someone needs physical therapy or even emotional therapy. I think that's the best thing we can do is restore some community...what we lost, we lost community, we lost the sense of being safe here. So, that's what we should do as a community.