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Ivy Cooper Year: Senior Major: Psychology Interviewed by Adriana Santana
Ivy lives near and has family in the Parkland, Florida area. In light of recent events, Ivy was willing to respond to a couple of questions regarding the tragedy.
Where were you when the new first broke?
When I first heard the news I was in my department (Behavioral Sciences). I follow a lot of Southern Florida pages on social media because that's home for me and as I was reading about it I was in total shock (knowing that it could happen anywhere), feeling their fear and pain.
Do you know anyone who was directly affected by the shooting?
As a former athlete, my school played almost every public school in Miami-Dade and Broward County and we become friends with these people, and eventually play travel ball during the summer together. I had many softball friends who were Marjory Stoneman Douglas alumnus, and many softball friends whose younger siblings are currently MSD students.
Do you feel a change in the community since the tragedy?
I feel that people are arguing more based on views, and it shouldn't be like that. I feel that we should gather as a community and have empathy. You'd want to do something about this kind of violence and not just argue about it. I feel that because it didn't happen here in Berrien Springs, MI that it’s easy to dismiss, however, the reality is that it could happen here, it could happen anywhere. I was at the shooting we had last January in Fort Lauderdale International Airport. I was flying back to Andrews University after winter break and it was someone who got off a plane, it wasn't someone who was from South Florida. It can happen anywhere, by anyone. I believe we as a community need to pray for those who are suffering, pray for those that have the temptation to commit a mass shooting, and pray for others to be safe. We need to be trained and taught what to do if we were in Parkland's situation.
How do you feel about the Parkland victims being so vocal?
I believe many people don't do things about situations until it happens to them and this was an unfortunate one. They witnessed the loss of family, friends and faculty. They went through the pain and fear that most people just talk about; they experienced it. They are speaking out of fear, out of pain and out of a sense of justice. They want others to hear them so that things like this won’t happen again, so that others don't have to experience what they did. They want to be the change in this world. They are smart, they are brave and they show love and compassion towards others, and that's hard to get from a teenager. There have been so many shootings in the past, a recent one at one of South Florida's airport, in Vegas, even at Central Michigan University and no one spoke up the way these high school students have.
Since this incident was so close to home, would you say you have a different perspective on school shootings?
Honestly, knowing where I live, I knew it had to happen eventually. There are many dangerous places in Miami-Dade and Broward County. It's not as safe as it used to be; there's always people getting shot or robbed, and unfortunately I knew that eventually in South Florida something like this would happen. As a public school alumni I can say that schools are usually extremely safe (especially high school because we have like 2000-4000 students in each public high school), we have our own cops and multiple security guards and our staff is semi-trained for situations like these. I want to be able to go home and not have to worry if my cousins are safe at school or, in the future, if my kids will be safe at school. I've had a shooting near my home and it’s scary. You have to be alert wherever you are and know who your friends truly are. I think school shootings can and unfortunately will continue to happen, but I also believe that we have to teach our loved ones how to deal with situations like these. We have a responsibility to be well-informed and educated, but we also have a right to feel safe when attending school
What do you think America should do in regards to gun control?
There's so much going on politically in regards to gun control. In my opinion, I believe that guns should not be sold to anyone under the age of 21. If you think about it, we aren't even college graduates yet; why do we really need a gun? I believe that if someone wants to buy a gun they have to go through a psychological assessment of at least six weeks, speak to someone and really explain why they want the gun. I believe selling guns shouldn't be as easy as buying cigarettes or over the counter medication; it should be harder, it should make people really understand what happens when you have possession of a gun. It should make them go through a process that makes them really think on how they would use the gun.