College students react to frequency of mass shootings

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - All eyes are on Florida as parents, students and authorities try to wrap their head around such unspeakable violence. While investigators continue to search for a motive in the deadly school shooting, we're looking at a culture where this has become the norm.

For many who have children just reaching adulthood, they can't remember a time when they didn't hear about a deadly mass school shooting.

Since the Columbine shooting in 1999, there have been countless campus shootings.

"You don't want to read something like that and so you're scrolling through and it's like somebody else is dying today," said Tyler Scott, a Catawba College student from Thomasville. "It's not something you want to get used to hearing, people are dying, you don't want to get used to that, people need help in this world and they're not getting the help they need."

Tyler was born the year before 13 students were killed at Columbine.

Today's college students have heard about school shootings and mass shootings all of their lives, and like Americans of all generations, they see different factors at work in both what causes the tragedy and how to prevent it.

"As the years have gone by you do see more and more, I think the real problem here is our studies on mental illness instead of some other factors people want to throw in there, I think that is the main goal that we need to look at," said Gavin Wooten, a student from Lexington, and Student Body President.

"I think the biggest thing is to change the security around the campuses," said Catawba student Kyrbee Cheek.  "I don't think that the weapons are the problem, I think there should be more security."

"Is it the guns, is it the individual, is it our health system," asked Dr. Michael Bitzer, a noted political scientist and professor at Catawba.

Dr. Bitzer says the topic comes up often in his classes, especially on days like today.

"From all political perspectives that my students share they recognize that there is something fundamentally flawed, but the question is the accountability," Bitzer added. "There's wide variance trying to answer that profound question."

While there is disagreement on how to answer many questions associated with these incidents, these students show that even with the frequency of these tragedies, they haven't become jaded in their reaction to human suffering.

"It's like amazing that things like this happen around the world and I feel so sorry for all of the people involved," Cheek added.

On Thursday Catawba students held a prayer vigil on campus for the victims of the Florida shooting.

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