I woke to horrible news this morning my lovelies, a gunman opened fire in Strozier Library at FSU early this morning, injuring three students and frightening countless others. A gunman on my beloved campus, a place I hold so dearly in my heart and so prominently in my memories, a place I felt so safe once I allowed myself to. A gunman…it’s every student’s nightmare.
When I was at Florida State I remember hearing about other campuses coming under attack, there were quite a few and every time such news broke it sent fear galloping up my spine. I’d always pray that such a thing never happened at FSU, that we would be safe, but I worried. So I studied each room I was in to find multiple exits should something happen and I need to flee, it was a safety game, something I picked up from my father who was an former Marine and Police Officer. He taught me self defense and boxing, the art of intellectual arguing, and thankfully, how to find the exit and as many as I could for as many different situations I could think of. Call it paranoia, call it preparedness, but I played the Safety Game and thanked all that was holy that I never had to make use of those exits.
But still even after all of that, it just doesn’t make sense to me, it doesn’t seem right or real. Florida State was my home for my college years, I lived on campus in a dorm very near the library and practically lived in the library itself as an English Major and a History Minor. I always joked about setting up a cot in the Annex, and if you didn’t know where I was, just go search the top two floors of Strozier and you’d be sure to find me. I knew every nook and cranny of the upper levels, delving into books, studying quietly, or just wandering around. I met friends in the lobby, wrote papers, learned that my favorite coffee is a Iced Café Mocha with real milk from the Starbucks in the first floor, flirted, stressed, laughed, ate, and experienced so much life there in that beautiful library. It was the center of my beautiful home.
It’s been years now but FSU is still my home in my heart and it terrifies me that this has happened to a place I love so very much, to people trying to better their lives as they search for themselves and their place in the world. I feel so violated…so angry, and so very very scared. My home has come under attack and I wonder if it will ever be the same, if those students, both injured and unharmed, will ever be the same. How many of them will have nightmares about this for the next few days, months, or years? How many of them will be too afraid to go out and have fun exploring our campus? How many of them will think of the library with terror instead of the love I felt for it? The security for FSU is already amazing, we are one of the safest schools and that’s one of the reasons I chose FSU over UF when my acceptance letters arrived. But what new measures will be put into place now? How will we ensure this never happens again but still allow for the openness of our grounds? I don’t know. How can we fix this…can it ever truly be fixed? I just don’t know.
But what I do know is this: my heart goes out to my fellow Seminoles, I send you all my love and my prayers. I know how strong you are and I know you will ensure that life goes on at Florida State. You will not let fear take our home away from you. So be strong my Noles, hold your heads up with pride and know that YOU are amazing people and the world loves you and we are here for you. But above all: be safe my FSU lovelies and remember: WE ARE THE GARNET AND GOLD NATION!!!