We didn’t want to write about this. Entering the week, we were preparing to write on a different topic, engaging with issues that concern the University and Charlottesville community. Then, students at UNC Chapel Hill were forced to hide in locker rooms and jump out of windows. Gun violence has marked another campus community.
Like most newspapers, we hold ourselves to certain journalistic standards. As such, our articles often start the same way — one or two introductory paragraphs, research and context. But after we spent some time reviewing the innumerable shootings that have rocked universities over the past few years and refining our argument against gun violence, we decided that we just couldn’t write that piece. What can we say that hasn’t been said a hundred times before?
Coverage on school shootings is ephemeral by nature. The sad reality is that if we wrote about every shooting, it would be all we talked about. But we wanted to stop and take a moment, here at the onset of a new school year, to acknowledge the pain and suffering of our fellow students a couple hundred miles down the road and to say in one loud, clear voice — we are here for you.
We know that by this time next month, next week, the country’s attention will move past UNC Chapel Hill. Big news reporters move on to the next topic — leaving local and student journalists to serve their community amidst tragedy. Classes resume and students are asked to focus on learning in the very place they were once told to shelter and hide. Even relatives stop asking how you are. We know that for the Chapel Hill community, despite any sign of a return to normalcy, that hurt remains. We here in Charlottesville know this all too well.
So rather than shout policy recommendations into a void, we are taking space here to stand in solidarity with the Chapel Hill community, in solidarity with every other college student who has had to cover an active shooting, with every other college student who knows the fear of a “run, hide, fight” message. We cannot heal your pain. We cannot restore the sense of safety and security that has been stolen from you. But we can empathize, with your anger, with your hurt, with the slow steps of healing you and your community will take. This process is not linear, but please know that you are not alone. We are here for you.
And while we wish we had more optimism, our elected officials’ continued apathy for change means that Chapel Hill will not be the last place violence visits. So, to the next school, the next mall, the next movie theater, the next place where violence strikes — we are here for you, too.
The Cavalier Daily Editorial Board is composed of the Executive Editor, the Editor-in-Chief, the two Opinion Editors, their Senior Associates and an Opinion Columnist. The board can be reached at email@example.com.