Grim Photos From the UCLA Shooting Are Scenes From a Mom's Worst Nightmare

ucla shootingWhen we hear about violent crimes like the murder-suicide at UCLA on Wednesday that claimed the lives of both professor and father-of-two Dr. William Klug and doctoral student Mainak Sarkar, the first images that come to mind are often gruesome and graphic. But no less terrifying are the images people are sharing that aren't gruesome at all, just deeply, deeply grim.

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Sarkar, who police say also killed a woman in Minnesota and had apparently been harboring feelings of "ill will" against his victims for quite some time, put a ripple effect of panic and despair in motion with his actions. To have been on that campus -- or to have had a child or loved one on that campus -- is an experience most of us can't even wrap our heads around. That strange and awful reality is heartbreakingly evident in the following photos, like this one of heavily armed officers in helmets (which comes with a sobering statistic):

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Students were apparently told to hold their hands over their heads while exiting so authorities could check for firearms (can you imagine seeing your kid in this position?!):

It's not often we get a glimpse of how incredibly scary it really is to hide from sudden violence. I mean, how safe can you really feel with a garbage can blockading the door ...

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Or with a couple of power cords as the only things standing between you and grave danger??

Nobody ever thinks they'll have to use their belt for something like this:

Also, how tremendously depressing that we live in a time when #activeshooter is a hashtag.

Photos like these, incidents like these, are just far too common nowadays, and have been for too long. And the saddest part is how the current generation of young adults really doesn't know anything different. My 15-year-old daughter was shocked recently when I told her I couldn't remember ever hearing of a school shooting before Columbine. "You mean that didn't used to happen?" she asked, incredulous. "Not like now," I said.

Of course, violence has always existed, and always will ... but not like now. And today, which happens to be National Gun Violence Awareness Day, it's so important for us to recognize that truth: Violence might never go away completely, but it doesn't have to be this bad. We shouldn't be at the point where we're not surprised by this kind of thing anymore, but we are -- still, that doesn't mean we have to stay here. 

Nothing will bring back the lives lost, but if enough people speak up about gun violence and how we can address it, we can at least prevent more people from dying. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the UCLA victims, and all victims of violent crimes. Let's hope their deaths were not in vain.

 

Image via Irfan Khan/Twitter 

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