This past Friday, 19-year old Seton Hall student Jessica Moore and several of her friends left campus to check out a party about a mile away. As they enjoyed the company of their fellow students in a privately owned house, a man attempted to enter the party without paying the cover cost.
Partygoers watched a fight erupt, which led to the man being thrown out. He returned moments later to the party with a handgun. That is when the gunman, who has yet to be identified, began shooting with no intended target. He proceeded to injure four other party-goers and kill honors student Jessica Moore.
The area in which the party was located, South Clinton Street, is no stranger to bloodshed. With at least five shootings this summer, neighborhood resident Rabu Anderson claims hearing gunshots is not an uncommon occurrence. But the story of this off-campus party turned crime scene is a frightening and tragic reminder that violence of extreme proportions can, and does, occur near and on college campuses.
Whether your campus is located in the middle-of-nowhere or in the middle of a city, it’s important to remember that you are still part of the real world. Oftentimes, the bubble-like atmosphere that so many campuses boast creates a false sense of safety for their students. But it is just that: false.
Drunkenly stumbling home from a party at 2am, leaving the bar with a complete stranger, sassing someone who cut you in line at the keg; such interactions are extremely typical in college and often end safely. However, the best way to stay safe is to try to avoid making yourself vulnerable to such dangers. It can be difficult to remember the realities of the world when surrounded by the glories of Natty Light and frat music. But, as evidenced by this story, they cannot protect you from a gun or violence.
Am I suggesting you live under a rock to stay safe? Definitely not. It’s totally okay to go to parties, dance your life away and stay up all night. But, be smart about it.
Try not to walk alone at night – pick a party-buddy before the night begins or take a taxi if need be. When sporting beer goggles and flirting with a total charmer you know absolutely nothing about, get his number and save any fun for a later date rather than heading back to his apartment that night. If you’re checking out an off-campus party and the sketchy guests make you uncomfortable, it’s not the worst idea to grab your friends and call it a night. Put the numbers for campus security in your phone, just in case you need to use their services. Most campuses offer free shuttles on the weekends that can save you cab money and save you a scary walk home.
College resembles some sort of limbo-esque time before real life begins. The work hard, play hard lifestyle makes our four years feel like a dream. However, that dream can be shattered in a matter of seconds if we don’t keep our eyes open and ourselves safe.