As word spread across social media that there was a shooting in Strozier Library at Florida State University, feelings spread across UCF that we know all too well.
Chills. Shock. Fear.
A man, identified as Myron May, opened fire in the library, injuring three before he was killed by law enforcement. Just 19 months ago we all felt the above as news broke of another school shooting, except the setting was different: Tower 1, UCF campus.
School shootings happen all too often, and as they occur UCF students can relate. Colleges are supposed to be a safe haven for freedom of thought and the chance to develop into a successful member of society. The students at Strozier Library were trying to do just that when shots echoed through the building.
Those of us who were at UCF when James Seevakumaran plotted a mass killing in Tower 1 — and instead turned his weapon on himself after being discovered by his roommate — know the feeling. We know all too well what the FSU community is feeling.
Temporarily, their feeling of safety and security has been taken from them.
But in reality, despite the incident, they shouldn't question their safety as much. Because of the fast response by law enforcement, many students were kept out of harm's way.
When they ticket for speeding or jaywalking, it's easy to look at police as a nuisance. But Tower I and the incident at the Strozier Library display the best of what police officers do: They save lives. Can you imagine what would have happened at either school had police not arrived for another five minutes?
Had UCFPD not responded to the Tower within four minutes of receiving a call, numerous lives could have been lost. In Tallahassee, had law enforcement not responded so quickly, May could have reloaded his weapon and inflicted more harm to more students.
These men and women put their lives in danger in order to save ours. As people ran away from the Strozier Library or Tower 1, law enforcement ran in.
While school shootings ultimately may not be preventable, we can do our part to help law enforcement save lives.
"If you see something, say something," UCF police chief Richard Beary said. "If somebody doesn't look right, if you get that intuition that something's not right, let law enforcement decide; but the key is we have to know and we have to know quickly. It doesn't do us any good the next day."