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Student view: Harnessing our power

March 10, 2023 - Logan Lamphier

Logan Lamphier is a junior studying political theory and constitutional democracy at James Madison College. The following student view was written two weeks after the Feb. 13 shooting at Michigan State University, which claimed the lives of three MSU students and critically injured five more.

 Logan Lamphier

It has been nearly two weeks since three of our classmates’ lives were taken on our campus. I am dealing with old, new and interconnected layers of grief, anger and depression; more threads spun into that same web of anxiety with which most college students in the U.S. are scarily familiar.

I want to do well in my studies. I want to have deep relationships with good friends. I want to build an impressive resume and have career opportunities. I want to be able to pay my rent. In working towards these goals, I want to retain a strong sense of purpose and still feel alive. At the very least, I want to feel safe from the possibility of being shot and killed on my own campus. I want to feel with a degree of certainty that I’ll live long enough to realize any of these goals. It’s difficult to feel that this is guaranteed, though, when life was cut short for three of us — and could have been cut short for any of us — a mere two weeks ago. 

If you have found that you are already mentally moving on from the shooting because you have to, because the world in which we live does not meaningfully stop for blows to our human spirit and human life, do not be ashamed. It is what can be expected from us, the generation which has been raised saturated in unique modern traumas. Though do not forget what has happened to us as a community — as young people. We must not let our numbness become complacency. While I know our generation has suffered and will suffer uniquely and profoundly, I believe this means our generation can be uniquely and profoundly strong. Each of us, individually, regardless of social or economic position, has free will — untouchable and infinite power.

That fundamental force inside each of us is always there, always available to make things happen in the world — this is real, every-day, concrete, decision-making power. When you look into the mirror, and see your own eyes staring back at you, strive to find and firmly believe in the strength which resides there. Those who benefit from the status quo want our adaptability to tragedy to inhibit us from channeling our emotions towards exercising our inherent power, individually and collectively, toward disrupting the status quo. 

We cannot allow past generations to subdue our passions, our strengths, our serious attitudes about living peaceful and great lives — before we have had the chance to live them. We must take ourselves and our lives seriously. In the midst of this state of uncertainty, be unwaveringly certain of your own free will and your self-love. Do not be ashamed to be human nor cynical toward humanity, despite our current suffering. Find your own power, your free-will, your love towards yourself and towards others. We young people must believe in each other because we are all we have.