Ohio State attacks steal students' sense of security

John Mercure Blog

The attack this week at Ohio State University hit really close to home for our family.

We have a 24 year old daughter who recently graduated from Ohio State. To say she was shaken by what happened in her 'second hometown' would be an understatement.

First a little bit of background.  Monday morning a lone attacker drove his vehicle into a crowd of OSU students and faculty members.  Several people were injured by the collision.  The attacker then got out of the vehicle and began to slash and stab stunned people who were trying to help those injured by the car crash.  Within one minute, police responded and shot and killed the assailant.

Being in a newsroom, I was aware of the attack almost in almost real time.  My heart sank.  I had walked through the intersection where the attacked happened many times with our daughter Kierra.  I immediately sent Kierra a text and I could feel her pain through the characters on my phone.

She told me the attacker had taken some of the same business courses that she had taken at Ohio State.  The thought that she might have known him made her nervous.  She was also worried about her many friends on campus that she not yet been able to get in touch with.  Kierra told me she was physically sick.

Eventually she was able to discover that she did not know the attacker and all her friends were accounted for.  As a father, I felt a sense of relief that her heart would be alright.  

That was short lived as a realized that Kierra wasn't completely ok.  She was devastated.  And she had many questions that no one can effectively answer.  "How could someone do this?"  Why would someone do this?"  How long will it take until students feel safe again on campus?"

As her dad, I wanted to help her.  I wanted to answer her questions.  Some of those questions have no easy answer.

My fear and sadness have now turned to anger.  I'm angry that Kierra and her classmates have had their joy and security stripped away by an attacker with an agenda to inflict fear and confusion.  I'm angry that his plan worked.  My daughter and countless other students will never feel the same when they walk past the corner of campus where a quiet Monday morning turned chaotic.

 

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