Yesterday was my parents 42nd wedding anniversary and also a day I will now remember with something else attached to it. I was on Delta States campus when a shooter took the life of Dr. Ethan Schmidt. I work on the second floor in Ewing (right next to Jobe hall) and I had run down to get some food out of my car that I made for a friend with cancer on the first floor. As I was walking I saw blue lights on the quad and heard people gossiping but I was on the phone and everything else. I got some missed calls from my boss but I ignored them because I was going right back upstairs. I finally answer on the 4th call and she says for me to get upstairs… NOW. So I was like what in the world!?!? Okay. So I grab the food out of my car and head to the doors that face Jobe. I look up and see cars, policeman, ambulance and chaos. I thought in my head what in the hell happened? A wreck? At that moment I get the text on my phone: Active Shooter on Campus. So I run in the door and one of our professors tell me I can’t go to the second floor run and hide. I ran to a co-workers office and watched out the window as men threw on bullet proof vest and broke out their large guns. Everything starts running through my head…shit this is real, MY KIDS (Noah and Grey are in the daycare on campus in two separate buildings what do I do?) Are they going to get shot and AM I going to get shot, what is my plan if he comes in – my gun, why do I NOT have my gun with me today! In my head I am freaking out and trying to remain calm. Then I get a text he is in our building. Three other girls and I run for it they all make it to one office and I get to another one. We lock doors, get under desk and pull chairs up to hide. I finally got a text from my husband and my boss he was in broom. So we got up and ran to a safer area to wait it out for hours. I was on the phone with friends and loved ones so long I had to stop answering text and phone calls because my battery was low. Finally men came by Ewing and swept it to let us all go home. Russell grabbed Noah and I got grey to go back to the house. Helicopters were circling the area (my condo is about a block or so away from campus) cops were all over and I felt like we were in a war zone. Even inside you could hear the chaos. I got a drink and made Russell take all of us to the land to ride and get fresh air. I just cried and cried for a minute to let it all out. I NEVER thought that would happen to me or here in this community at this college. For that brief moment under that desk I felt the terror of oh God this is it… will he kill me? I have nothing in this little office to protect myself with and it was just me alone with my thoughts. It was the scariest few minutes of my life. Real, petrified, scared. You have no idea what is happening… who the shooter is… what is their motive… where are they going next. You know NOTHING but that somebody on campus has been actually shot and there is crazy person and they have a gun. Some people can’t understand why some of us are still upset today. My nerves were off coming back in the back door by Jobe and I felt queasy again. I have been fighting tears all day and forcing myself to take deep breaths. I use to not be able to understand it either and then I was placed in the situation and NOW I UNDERSTAND IT COMPLETELY!
I never understood it until I was in it. My adrenaline got me through but when I got home and could relax (somewhat) the adrenaline stopped and so I started to cry and thought I was going to vomit.
So NOW I will constantly be carrying and have been wanting to but now WILL be getting my concealed weapon license. I have had a gun already but now I want my conceal and carry license which I still can’t have in certain areas but at least I can have in some places! That is better than nothing! I have had my lifetime hunters license since 7th or 8th grade. I grew up in a house with guns and learned to shoot at a young age. The guns I shot were mainly shotguns and I didn’t learn to shoot a pistol until high school when my dad got my mom one. I feel extremely comfortable around guns and have no problem shooting someone if they are about to harm me or family/friends. A friend was saying she didn’t know if she could kill and I told her if they are about to harm your children you will or if you are in a situation similar you will do it. Whatever to protect your loved ones. My brother was laughing at me when he called to check on me yesterday calling me dirty harry when we got to talking about guns and protecting ourselves. Well that is why I have a gun to protect myself and my children. I shouldn’t have a gun if I am not comfortable using it to protect and I am very comfortable with it. After yesterday my boss is now getting a gun and I knew it would take a scary situation for her to see. Now she just has to get comfortable with a gun and get comfortable with idea that someone may die. I help that in my head with…IF I feel the need to shoot them then something that person is doing is wrong and I am okay with it if I kill them. They shouldn’t have been in my house standing over my child’s bed. A woman I worked with years ago had a guy break in and she woke up with him standing over her. He took her and her little boy in a car where other things occurred. Heck NO, I won’t go down without a fight and you deserve what you get. You shouldn’t be in my house at night. THAT person is in the wrong and I AM PROTECTING my family it is a simple as that!
Yesterday was quite a day for the community and everyone is trying to get back to their normal selves. It affects you even though you try not to let it. You KNOW everything is okay but it takes you a minute to get back to yourself because your world was just turned upside down with WHAT IF’S.
So what do I do now? I move on but I have an actual plan if this happens again. I can’t necessarily say the plan will work because yesterday I was down stairs with my keys to get in my car and my cell phone… that was it. I WILL have my husband grab our kid on the other side of campus if he can and I WILL get to my child on the first floor. I thought it best to leave them – I thought it was safer and it was! BUT I think I will go get them and even if I can’t leave I can protect them. We both couldn’t get them in time with the locking of the doors but if I can next time I WILL!
My parents went to Delta State, both of my brothers, both of their wives, my husband and I both graduated as well and I now work here. When my brother called he was upset because Delta State is always home whether he lives here or not. He just couldn’t believe this was happening to his home. Delta State is in our blood. This college is one of the best small colleges you can ever attend. The community and school work together to create a wonderful learning environment. Once you come here you never want to leave. It makes a mark on your heart and if you do happen to leave, the mark or the place in your heart can never be filled and can never fade. It takes hold of you and you never want to let go. Delta State will change from this and so will the community. We will change and become a stronger and even more connected family. Being here I couldn’t have been at a better college or community to have a tragic situation happen. Not only did all our law enforcements do a fabulous job but men from around the community came out and brought guns and helped protect the buildings where the children’s daycare are. I am proud to be apart of the Cleveland and Delta State community.
Please remember our community, school, and the family members of the deceased in your thoughts and prayers.