Thoughts after UVA Shooting

From a BC Student Perspective


The Washington Post

On Sunday, Nov. 13, the lives of three UVA football players, Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry, were taken, and two others were injured during a shooting on a campus bus. According to the Charlottesville police, the gunman faces three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony.

Emily Wylie, Sports Editor

Bridgewater, Va.- In a crowded theater, at a concert, attending a basketball game, going to the mall or even just walking across campus—places you should feel safe—have changed from leisurely activities to anxiety-inducing ventures. It seems that no one, and nowhere, can be trusted. The news is filled with tragedies that take the lives of people, and our age group seems to be a target.

On the night of Sunday, Nov. 13, the lives of three UVA students were taken. 

“My thoughts today are with the families and friends of the victims, those who witnessed the event, and the entire UVA and Charlottesville communities. We know all too well the emotions that follow incidents like this,” said President David W. Bushman in a recent email to the student body. 

Since Feb. 1 of this year, after the shooting on campus, all of us live on the edge. We look over our shoulders and pay more attention to our surroundings in our daily activities. No one wants to live in constant fear, but it is a sad reality that our generation must now endure. 

Everywhere I go, I live in a state of anxiety. I do not trust anything, or anyone, especially in crowded areas or events. On Friday, Nov. 11, I attended the UVA men’s basketball game against Monmouth, and as I was leaving the event, surrounded by hundreds of people, I was terrified that another shooting would occur. 

I looked at all the innocent faces laughing and celebrating UVA’s big win and thought about how special and valuable each one of their lives are. All 13,487 people who attended that basketball game have lives of meaning and purpose. 

Feb 1. brought me pain, everlasting anxiety and fear, but it also gave me a renewed look at the value of human life. Each person on this planet, I believe, has the purpose to love and share in love with others. It is when that life is cut short by evil acts and malicious people that we heavily fail as a community and a nation. 

Bridgewater College campus police officers John Painter and J.J. Jefferson
On Feb. 1, two Bridgewater campus police officers, John Painter and J.J. Jefferson, were shot and killed in front of Flory Hall. The Grand Jury is set to convene on Nov. 21 to begin trial proceedings for the shooter. (National Police Association)

As I drove to Bridgewater on Monday, Nov. 14, I did not want to go to class as I was in tears reflecting on all of the joyful faces of UVA students from two days prior. I imagined those joyful faces now turning to sadness because, once again, the ability to recognize human value was forgotten.

We as a generation, and nation, need to stand up and put the value back into what it means to be a human. The number 8 billion blurs the emotional comprehension of humanity, and we process each other as digits, and nothing more. 

How do we change this? We need to help our world become a place of love, empathy, forgiveness and compassion, instead of a place that devalues human life. I am tired of the preventable becoming our reality. 

I urge you to think about one another with the value you would give your best friend or family member. Take each day as an opportunity to love, be kind and look for ways to serve others. Look around you, look up from your distractions and priorities, and see people who need to feel like they are important. 

Each person loves and is loved, which is a quality that should never be taken away or cut short. When we change, the world around us will become a better place. This is our generation, so let’s take the future back and make it a place where everyone feels safe and remembers the value of being human. 

Bridgewater provides counseling services free of charge for all students and an anonymous reporting system for a variety of reasons. Please use these services to ensure the safety and health of our college. 

My heart is with the hurting family and friends of the three football players, Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry, whose time was tragically cut short by the utter disregard for human life. UVA, Bridgewater College stands with you.