Michigan state representative Ranjeev Puri doesn’t want your condolences — he wants real change.
After a gunman killed three students and wounded five others at Michigan State University on Monday night, Puri, a Democratic legislator, released a statement beginning with one powerful, strongly worded sentence: “F— your thoughts and prayers.”
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Puri said the shooting has caused “unimaginable trauma and grief” to the Michigan State University community.
“Going to school in America, whether it’s pre-school or college, means risking your life every day to the threat of a mass shooting,” the statement reads. “Yet we have offered up empty solutions — traumatizing active shooter drills and bulletproof backpacks.”
According to Puri, the Michigan State University attack is the 67th mass shooting in the U.S. in 2023 alone. He said there have been more than 2,215 mass shooting gun deaths in just the first two months of this year.
“Thoughts and prayers without action and change are meaningless,” Puri wrote.
He pledged to work tirelessly toward “common sense gun reform” in the U.S.
The governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, called mass shootings “a uniquely American problem.”
“Too many of us scan rooms for exits when we enter them,” Whitmer wrote after the shooting on Monday. “We plan who that last text or call would go to. We should not, we cannot, accept living like this.”
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Michigan State has about 50,000 students, including 19,000 who live on the suburban East Lansing campus, where the shooting occurred. As hundreds of officers scoured the campus on Monday night, students hid where they could.
Hours after the shooting, the gunman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound about eight kilometres from campus in an industrial area. A motive is not yet known.
The five students who were wounded during the on-campus shooting remain in critical condition at Sparrow Hospital, officials said at a press conference Tuesday.
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On TikTok, one self-identified Michigan State University student claimed to have lived through both Monday’s school shooting and the Sandy Hook massacre in New Town, Conn., in 2012.
“Ten years and two months ago, I survived the Sandy Hook shooting,” said the 21-year-old student, whose TikTok user is @Jmattttt.
She said the Sandy Hook shooting left her with a “PTSD fracture that flares up any time I am in a stressful situation.”
“The fact that this is now the second mass shooting that I have lived through is incomprehensible.”
Like Puri, she said Americans “can no longer just provide love and prayers.”
“It needs to be legislation. It needs to be action. It’s not OK,” she said.
The student concluded by saying she would always be “#SandyHookStrong” and “#SpartanStrong.”
Dozens of people have died in mass shootings so far in 2023, most notably in California, where 11 people were killed as they welcomed the Lunar New Year at a dance hall popular with older Asian Americans.
In 2022, there were more than 600 mass shootings in the U.S. in which at least four people were killed or wounded, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
— With files from The Associated Press
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