No injuries were reported after a shots fired incident on Lakewood Drive early in the morning March 5, according to a school-wide email sent by Vice President of Student Affairs Dane Foust.
I can tell you this is not true.
"Initial reports indicate that students were hosting a party and uninvited, non-student guests were turned away from entry," the email stated. "The uninvited guests produced a handgun and shots were fired."
While accurate, there is more to the story.
One of the hosts was "jumped" – a word used by the officer I spoke to – after being sent out alone to confront the group of locals in the front yard. Four to six grown men beat him mercilessly before I saw from across the street and instinctually intervened.
Shielding a stranger with my body, I found myself – my skull – at the receiving end of blunt force.
Merely yards from the gunman, I was injured before the trigger was pulled, before the shots brought ringing to my ears as I pressed my head to the ground. This act of senseless violence went unnoticed.
I faced two consecutive life-threatening situations.
I feel I was done a disservice by Salisbury University and the Salisbury Police Department. Stating "no injuries were reported" served to invalidate the crime that could have taken my life or that of another student.
Dozens of students were traumatized that night, just a short walk from campus.
But anyone reading SU's alerts would have no idea how dangerous the situation was.
The university made no inquiries as to the welfare of those affected by this event. I know so many witnesses are hurting and afraid now. I hear their voices and I feel their pain.
The university should extend every available resource to students affected by violence in Salisbury and SUPD should be more watchful of residential areas off campus. This is the ninth gun-related incident to occur near campus this academic year.
One is too many.
If SU cannot do anything to prevent violence outside its campus, it should make an effort to confront the repercussions, in the very least.
Solutions include support groups, self-defense training, spreading awareness on violent crime and an open conversation. SU has the resources to implement any of these programs.
By BEES BEESLEY
Featured image courtesy of Benjamin Lausch