(WTNH) — Following the country’s latest deadly mass shooting Monday night, a Michigan State University student who also lived through the tragedy at Sandy Hook in 2012 is sharing her story. Jackie Matthews, who was a student in Connecticut’s Newtown Public School system during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, turned to social media to reach a broader audience to enact change, saying enough is enough.
“It is almost 1 a.m., and I am currently directly across the street from where the shootings at Michigan State occurred,” Matthews said in a now-viral video posted on social media. “The fact that this is now the second mass shooting that I have lived through is incomprehensible.” Her call to action? End gun violence.
At the age of 21, Matthews has been impacted by the tragedies at Michigan State University and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. “I was in my sixth-grade classroom and was in lockdown for, I think, six hours just with my peers,” Matthews told Nexstar’s WTNH. “I came home, and that week, we had 26 funerals in our town.”
The MSU senior detailed the fear and panic students were feeling after shots were fired on campus Monday night, and during the ensuing search for a gunman. “[I] immediately checked in on all of our friends and locked the doors, was in contact with everybody that I knew and tried to keep calm.”
In those moments, Matthews said painful, traumatic memories all came flooding back. “A whole ‘nother community is going to have to endure what my hometown community experienced,” she said. Matthews is now trying to do what she can to enact change. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been nearly 70 mass shootings in 2023 alone. “I usually don’t share that information, share videos like that, but I do hope those comments and the video itself goes beyond what I had ever could have thought — and it gets to the right people, and we can do something about this.”
Matthews hopes to speak with Michigan’s governor, other lawmakers and stakeholders to tighten gun laws. Matthews said the support she’s received since posting the video on social media has been overwhelming. People have also been tagging lawmakers in the comments, hoping to help get her message to the widest audience possible. “Especially after experiencing this for a second time, it’s not something I’m going to give up on,” Matthews said.