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Letter: No more thoughts and prayers

guest column

Chapel Hill is my home. It is where I grew up, had my first day of school, took my first dance class and, of course, applied to Duke. Aug. 28, the day of the shooting at UNC, is a day I will never forget. Despite the fact that I was not physically present on campus, it was the first time that I looked at the news and said, “Wow. It could have been me.” 

My mother was there too. Days later, I cannot shake away the thought eating away at my mind. “It could have been her.” She was just a two-minute walk away from UNC’s campus when the news first spread. It is a truly chilling and terrifying thought.

Days later, I saw the same posts once again. Thoughts and prayers. Condolences. Statements from the surrounding universities with messages of support and (don’t get me wrong, much needed) mental health resources, but no paths forward, no indications of future steps and no inkling of how we can improve the situation. 

As a school 20 minutes down the road, I expected more from Duke — both students and administration. Yet, instead of feeling a strong sense of support and longing for a path forward, I felt a whirlwind of both rage and hopelessness as I saw yet another school name seem to fall through the cracks.

Sandy Hook, Parkland, Jacksonville, UNC Charlotte, Columbine, and now UNC Chapel Hill. These names get thrown around repeatedly in vain but fail to express the futile efforts at bandaging the gushing wounds these shootings continue to make in our communities, families and minds.

How can you bounce back from a traumatic event like this? In reality, you can’t. But thoughts and prayers are certainly not the way to go. What are thoughts if they sit and rot in one’s mind? No, thoughts must be translated into action.

No more thoughts and prayers. The time is now.

Emily Ford is a Trinity sophomore.


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