Column: UNC shooting can be a lesson for MU

In order to avoid events like the UNC shooting, students need to start educating themselves.

Three students at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill campus were shot dead last week. Investigators still don’t know if the shooting was a hate crime or an isolated incident over something as small as a parking spot.

The three students were all Muslim, which sparks the questions as to whether this factor could have played a role in what motivated the killer to take the lives of the students. Some say it was over a parking spot dispute in their apartment complex, while the victims’ families say it might have been a hate crime because of their religion.

We are all college students, constantly surrounded by many different people of many different faiths, beliefs and backgrounds. It’s time we start paying attention to these differences and figuring out ways to make them work for us rather than against us. It’s not to say that anyone on MU’s campus is capable of doing what the shooter in North Carolina did to three innocent victims, but we are a campus just as diverse as UNC, and we should feel what they are feeling right now.

Anywhere you look on MU’s campus, you can see someone who doesn’t necessarily look just like you. This is a good thing because, in the real world, there are people of all skin colors, and we should all be able to adapt and thrive in situations with people who are not exactly like us. It’s obvious that whites are the most populous race on campus, but the rest of the people here shouldn’t feel uncomfortable.

The situation that happened at UNC could have been a hate crime or it could have been an isolated event. Either way, three young people of a specific faith with an unfortunate reputation in America are dead.

The day after the shooting, Twitter and other social media blew up with complaints to mainstream media about certain news organizations not doing a good job covering the event. Many people said that there wasn’t extensive coverage right away because the victims were Muslim.

We the students can’t control what the media does or what they choose to cover, but we can change our ways of thinking about religions and the people who belong to them. We have Muslims as well as followers of many other religions on our campus, and we should be willing to learn about all of them. We can’t let what we see in movies or on TV dictate how we think or feel about people of a certain religion different from ours.

The victims of the shooting were just like you and me. They were students trying to better themselves by getting an education so they could be equipped with knowledge and tools as they enter the workforce and the real world. Regardless of what religious faith they belonged to, these students were normal people with a purpose in this country and on their campus. They deserved to live, and they deserved to be a part of that campus and pursue the education they wanted.

Something as tragic as the Chapel Hill shooting might never happen at MU, and hopefully it doesn’t. But it is important to learn from incidents like this, even if it was 900 miles away. We should make this tragedy that has affected the UNC campus a way to unite people of all religions and backgrounds and make them feel like they belong on our campus.

We can stand in solidarity with the victims’ families, as well as the UNC campus, and support them in this time of tragedy.

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