Oregon killings unsettle UDM students

The killing of nine people at an Oregon community college last week resonated across the McNichols campus.

Twenty-six-year-old Chris Harper Mercer also injured ten others at Umpqua Community College. The massacre stopped only when Mercer was engaged by authorities, and shot himself. The gunman targeted Christians specifically.

“I think it’s kind of spooky because we’re on a college campus and I am a Christian,” said UDM dining services employee Alison Scarborough. “For someone to do something like that is scary, and I think the students around here are probably really scared to.”

Senior Tayelor McCalister mentioned a shooting earlier this year that killed nine African Americans at a church Charleston, SC.

“This type of thing has been going on. The last shooter was targeting black Christians,” she said.

Given that UDM is a Catholic university, McCalister doubted that anything similar would happen here. Still, the tragedy makes her a little anxious – “just knowing that you can’t even be safe at school anymore.”

“Now there are metal detectors and police officers,” McCalister said. “But I’m not sure what’s going on in these people’s heads to make them attack others that’s trying to better themselves.”

The news also shocked English major Michael James. 

“This is the third shooting at a college campus since the fall semester begin,” he said.

James felt afraid for his girlfriend and sister, who will be starting college soon.

“My girlfriend wants to go to U of M, and my sister wants to go to Michigan State, and those are big colleges,” he said. “I don’t even know if it’s safe now. I know they have police and rules, but these type of events make me scared for them.”

Like many others, junior Jazmine Gilmore felt touched by the Oregon killings.

“It makes me sad when people just target others for what they believe in,” said Gilmore. “It also makes me feel unsafe because you don’t want to worry about things like this. But unfortunately we have to.”