Today, we are ALL Seminoles
When the fall season is upon us, fans used to spend a great deal of their social time conversing over their favorite college football teams and their Saturday’s watching them take the field.
Thanks to the evolution of football and recruiting becoming more of a nonstop endeavor all year long and thanks to the internet, modern age of instant communication and breaking news, we now do not wait until just the fall to have these conversations, we never stop having them. We love our teams and defend them to no end. We always maintain hope of the best case scenarios as season after season play out. We hate our bitter rivals to no end and wish them the worst on the field each year.
Then there are days like today. Today there are no rivalries. Today the depth chart does not matter. Today the game plan does not matter. Today football does not matter. Today, we all come together to unite in the face of tragedy hitting close to home for all of us. For most of us, today we are thankful it was our loved ones or even ourselves who had to personally live through such an event.
This is what we hope this post is not: We are not going to talk about the shooter. We are not going to post pictures of him, the screenshots of his online activity, speculate what may have pushed him to carry out such a thing or give him any attention at all. So if you are hoping to learn about him at all or see detailed images and breakdowns about him, you are in the wrong place. We are not going to dignify him in anyway since attempting to take the lives of innocent students is a cowardly act.
What we hope this post is: A look at humanity and unity. To give our thoughts and prayers to all those affected by this at all both directly and indirectly.
We do not want this to be a day of sadness and sorrow. Such feelings give the coward who caused this the power over us and we should not allow such a coward to dictate how we feel or live our lives.
We hope to show a day of celebration, a day of unity, compassion, humanity and togetherness and especially a day celebrating the loss of no innocent lives.
A day celebrating the heroes who put their lives on the line responding so quickly to ensure the situation was contained as quickly as possible and did not escalate further and preventing any loss of innocent lives.
Today we should be thankful how lucky we truly are. Today could have been a disastrous tragedy. A day full of mourning carved into history due to death and destruction, but thankfully it was not.
At 12:25am on Thursday, November 20, Strozier Library in the heart of Florida State University’s campus, the largest on campus, was filled with 300-400 students preparing for the upcoming final exams beginning in December when FSU police received a call a gunman entered the library and opened fire.
Texts, tweets and alerts rang out. Students nearby began barricading themselves in rooms to protect themselves and you can hear in the video below students being alerted to the situation.
Soon after, the gunman was gunned down by police officers, three injured victims were transported to a local hospital and the investigation continues. Thankfully, by every indication to date, all three victims are expected to survive.
Unfortunately, with the gunman now deceased, it limits how much can be investigated fully and how many answers we may ever receive about why exactly this event happened.
The Response by Law Enforcement
Whether deserved or not, recently the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) and the Florida State Police Department (FSUPD) have received wide spread criticism from national media members over how they handled the Winston sexual assault accusations and the PJ Williams auto accident. Most of which is unfounded, but one thing nobody should understate is how these departments handled this situation.
After the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, most law enforcement departments across the nation, including those in Tallahassee, used the event as an opportunity to learn and improve their preparation for such events to prevent such a thing from happening again.
In Tallahassee, on this heart stopping, cold night, dozens of officers from multiple agencies responded within minutes.
When the gunman exited the building, he was met by six officers before exchanging fire. Soon after, as many as 40-50 officers were reportedly on the scene, reportedly 4-5 minutes after the initial call.
This immediate response and quickness to contain the situation and prevent any innocent loss of life should be commended and can not be overstated enough.
The Aftermath – Unity
As the sun rose following the event, students and faculty began to crowd Landis Green right in front of the Strozier Library. Some praying, some hugging and all coming together as one in support.
If you have ever been on FSU’s campus, you will know, it takes quite a large number of people to surround the Green.
Not that this involves football players at all, but FSU quarterback Jameis Winston was even seen in the crowd. Not wanting any recognition or to garner any attention, he seemed to try remaining incognito offering the same support as everyone else:
In the afternoon a Gathering of Unity at the Integration Statue was planned.
Another incredible turnout at this event.
The crowd was sure to do the Warchant they are famously known for as you can see and hear in these Vine links:
These candles were handed out at the vigil:
Even the Marching Chiefs showed up to the unity event:
You can hear them playing the Hymn to the Garnet and the Gold in the video below:
The unity was not confined just within the borders of the Florida State campus and FSU fans. Support poured in from all over the country from individuals, schools, media outlets and others.
On Friday, November 21st at 11:30am, the Florida Gators will be holding a demonstration of unity in Turlington Plaza to show more support to FSU and are even encouraging everyone to wear FSU’s colors of garnet and gold to the event.
We do not know the goal of the gunman in this event, but he sure did a good job uniting everyone and it is great to witness.
There are a few who have not shown such class and respect in this trying time for all those involved and we all likely know the story of Marisa Martin by now, but we are not going to show these few bad apples who can not seem to be able to see past the rivalries, sports and games for the bigger picture here and give them any publicity at all.
One thing is for sure, we are all Seminoles today and the Unconquered Spirit of the Seminoles is not something just fun to say, to sell t-shirts or to just brag about. It has been seen on the field all fall by the football team and is being displayed now off the field by everyone. It is a reality, a way of life and a state mind and has strongly been on display throughout this event by us all.
Continue to hold on to that spirit and remain Unconquered and United.
*Credit a lot of Twitter users for the above images. They can all be found on Twitter using various #’s including #Noles #FSUStrong #FSUUnited #WeAreFSU #Unconquered #PrayForFSU #FSUnited #FSUShooting and others.