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The Colonel Chronicle


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The Colonel Chronicle

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The Ripples of Gun Violence


Early on Saturday morning, October 28, gunfire broke out in the Wasylean parking lot at Worcester State University. Two people were shot; one of them, 19-year-old Randy Armando Melendez Jr. of Southbridge, died. The authorities don’t believe the shootings were random acts of violence or connected to Worcester State, and they have arrested two suspects in connection with the shooting. Still, I was shocked and hurt to learn of violence so close to me.

I was at the Wasylean parking lot on Friday afternoon around 6pm, playing tennis, less than ten hours before someone died there. Because the parking lot is right next to the courts, I’ve parked there innumerable times, never thinking much of it. I can’t believe that one of those times was Friday. I can’t believe someone was killed there.

While I thought about gun violence when it appeared on the news, it always felt far away, communicated to me via New York Times headlines or NPR stories on the radio. Whenever I heard about it, my heart sank—but I never imagined it would come close enough to freak me out, close enough to make me wonder whether it’s safe to be out at night, even just playing tennis on a college campus. If somewhere I trust isn’t safe, anywhere might not be safe.

At the same time, I recognize that, all things considered, I am still very distant from the tragedy of Saturday morning. I was not actually there. I did not know anyone involved. My life essentially continues unchanged. It doesn’t feel unchanged, because I am shocked, but I cannot begin to imagine the reality-shattering effect that gun violence has when you are actually a witness to it, or when it takes someone you know or care about.

This experience, though, has only added to my belief that we need to do something. Too many people are dying from gun violence: at school, at stores, on the street, in their cars. For the Worcester community, it’s been an especially painful and exhausting couple of weeks. First, the massacre in Lewiston, Maine, only three or four hours away, followed by a tiring days-long manhunt for the killer. Then the Worcester State shooting, proof that we are not untouched by this epidemic of violence. And most recently, Carl-Hens Beliard, a North High alumni—who graduated from North only last year, and was on the state-championship-winning basketball team—was killed at Salem State University early Wednesday morning.

It is painful and unfair that we as a society must confront such atrocities on a regular basis. And it hurts all the more because it is preventable. With better gun control laws, like increased background checks, bans on assault rifles, and better care for people with mental health issues, we could be fighting back against the violence that strikes us. Guns are made, distributed, and shot by people—we are people. We have the ability to make change and alter this deadly narrative. All it takes is a basic respect for human life and knowledge of the trauma our society experiences.

We are suffering. It is time to make change. 

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About the Contributor
Anya Geist
Anya Geist, Editor-In-Chief
I am very happy to be the co-Editor-In-Chief of the Colonel Chronicle. I have always loved writing and connecting with my community, and journalism allows me to do both of those things. In addition to working for the Colonel Chronicle, I am the co-Editor-in-Chief of the Apricot Journal (South's literary magazine), and I swim and play tennis for South. Outside of school, I love reading, traveling, being outside, and spending time with family and friends. Here's my email: [email protected]
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