“Uniquely American problem”: MSU shooting shocks Michigan
By The Yemeni American News
The mass shooting that claimed three students at Michigan State University has shaken communities across the state and renewed calls for gun reforms and other measures to keep schools safe.
The incident, in which five others were injured, came less than eighteen months after the mass shooting at Oxford High School, where a teenage gunman killed four people in 2021.
It also coincided with the anniversary of the Parkland high school shooting in Florida, in which 17 people were killed in 2018.
Alaa Algahim, a Yemeni-American MSU student, described the harrowing ordeal for The Yemeni American News. The shooting started while he was training at the gym.
“When we heard the shooting, all the students were shocked and started to run away. We ended up hiding in the bathroom, then we went to a special room where we stayed for five hours until the police came and the situation was stable for us to return to our rooms,” Algahim said.
The students were asked to turn off the light and place their phones on silent not to alert a potential threat to their whereabouts.
Alaa’s family say they were worried throughout the incident, communicating with the student via text message.
His father, Nasser Algahim said he first heard about the shooting from a relative and immediately called his son who was able to answer the phone at first.
“We stayed in a state of anxiety and fear until 2 a.m. when Alaa was able to get out and return to his room,” Nasser Algahim said.
‘We cannot keep living like this’
Authorities have released the names of the victims – all students. They were: Arielle Anderson, Brian Fraser and Alexandria Verner.
Mass shootings, including at schools, are occurring at an alarming frequency in the United States.
“We cannot keep living like this. Our children are scared to go to school. People feel unsafe in their houses of worship or local stores. Too many of us scan rooms for exits when we enter that place. And many of us have gone through the grim exercise of figuring out who our last call would be to,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said on Tuesday.
The Democratic governor called for action to protect children. “We know this is a uniquely American problem,” she said.
Police identified the gunman at MSU as 43-year-old Anthony Dwayne McRae, but the motive for the shooting is still unclear.
McRae had opened fire at two different buildings on campus and remained at large for several hours, sparking panic in the entire East Lansing area, before he was found dead after apparently taking his own life.
Little is known about the suspected gunman or what drove him to do something like this. Law enforcement officials said he was not a student or staff member at the university. He lived in neighboring Lansing.
McRae’s father had said in media interviews that his son became increasingly angry after his mother’s death in 2020 but was not formally diagnosed with mental health problems.
Biden calls for reform
Lawmakers and officials across the state and the country have denounced the shooting and expressed condolences for MSU.
“We have children in Michigan who are living through their second school shooting in under a year and a half,” said Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, who represents both East Lansing and Oxford in Oakland County.
“I am filled with rage that we have to have another press conference to talk about our children being killed in their schools. If this is not a wake-up call to do something, I don’t know what is.”
President Joe Biden, who has been advocating for a ban on assault weapons, offered support to MSU in a statement.
“Our hearts are with these young victims and their families, the broader East Lansing and Lansing communities, and all Americans across the country grieving as the result of gun violence,” Biden said.
He also renewed his calls for gun reform.
“Congress must do something and enact common-sense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, closing loopholes in our background check system, requiring safe storage of guns, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets,” the president said.
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib also urged “meaningful action” after the MSU shooting.
“The trauma and heartache that a whole community like MSU/East Lansing is experiencing right now should not become the norm. We can’t let it,” Talib said.