A two-time participant in mass shootings speaks out

February 14, 2023 • 10:45 am

UPDATE: Jackie has been identified in a big NBC News story as Jackie Matthews, and is quoted extensively. You can also here a short interview with her (also on NBC) here.


I got an email and a Tik Tok posting from reader Tom, whose notes below explain the short Tik Tok video attached. It was made by Jackie, a friend of Tom’s daughter. Imagine being involved in the Sandy Hook shooting (where 26 people were killed) and the MSU shooting!  I surely agree with Jackie that thoughts and prayers are useless in such situations; we need legislation. We seem to have mass shootings nearly every day, and yet restriction of access to guns is not happening—states, in fact, are loosening gun restrictions.

From Tom:

My daughter graduated from Michigan State in December.  She spent last night and this morning talking and texting friends still on campus.  One of her friends was locked down in a janitor’s closet with three other students for 5 1/2 hours until released by police at 1:30 am.  To hear the fear and sorrow in my daughter’s voice as she spoke to her friends broke my heart.  Please find below a TikTok video of one of her friends, Jackie, speaking from lockdown across the street from one of the shooting sites.  Jackie is also a survivor of Sandy Hook.
I have permission to post the video (which is public) and the explanation above.
Click on the bottom of the video to turn the sound on.

#duet with @jmattttt #spartanstrong

♬ original sound – Jmattttt

10 thoughts on “A two-time participant in mass shootings speaks out

  1. As well as ‘thoughts and prayers’ the other thing that is surely not going to solve this is ‘good guys with guns’.

    1. the other thing that is surely not going to solve this is ‘good guys with guns’.

      But do they want “good guys with guns” – who by definition would do almost anything (negotiate, fire warning shots and miss …) to avoid putting several grammes of metal through someone’s braincase? What they really want is someone whose first response to a crisis would be to pull out a gun and start blowing away at the person who they think is the “perp”, and hitting people in the background. Which fits more closely to “good sociopaths with guns”.
      How different would that be from today ! ?

  2. Poor Jackie, being caught up in two such events must be terrifying

    She’s correct in her analysis, but I’m not holding my breath for sensible gun control in the US. As I noted in a comment below this morning’s Hili, today is the anniversary of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Five years later, and what has changed?

  3. People outside the US, especially from countries like Australia (where they effectively used legislation and sensible gun control to virtually eliminate mass shootings), must be baffled as to why this keeps happening in the US. I live in the US and I’m baffled as well…

    But as far as I can tell, the lack of any meaningful progress on this problem is down fundamentally to whether a given American citizen sees guns primarily 1) A public safety problem or 2) a sacrosanct constitutional right.

    Those of us who see guns through the lens of 1) are driven by empirical data (such as all of the deaths and injuries that occur each year through guns) and see the government as having an interest in the safety of its citizens. We are thus open to constraints on gun ownership in the interest of public safety.

    Those who see guns primarily as a sacrosanct individual right under the US Constitution have little regard for the data around how dangerous guns are, because this is all seen as collateral damage that is secondary to the sacred right to own a firearm. This is also why their solution to the problem of gun violence is often “MORE GUNS!”.

    Thus, there could be a school shooting every half hour in this country, and I doubt it would make a dent in the minds of those who see guns as inalienable right.

    Now, no prizes as to which side has won the political battle on this issue…

      1. I thought they – fairly consistently – drove on the wrong side of the road. Meaning dextral, not sinistral.
        But … hasn’t someone found a constitutional argument for “drivers rights” about which side of the road to drive on. Yet?

    1. I agree emphatically, along with probably 99% of all non-US citizens. Australia and the UK (where I come from) experienced horrific gun massacres in the 1990s and overhauled their laws as a result.

      For the vast majority of British or Australian citizens this was not a contentious issue. I was around at the time, and the most prevalent opinion in the UK was along the lines of: “Yeah, take the guns. Mass shootings are directly related to gun accessibility, and they’re horrific. This level of horror and violence cannot be accepted.”. The two gun owners I knew even conceded that sharply restricting gun ownership was the right course of action.

      The situation in the USA is so very different and seems to be the result of a few factors (although as a Brit I stand to be corrected), including:

      1) The inertia against gun laws provided by the constitution, and the creativity and determination of certain groups and individuals to exploit that to their advantage (NRA particularly)
      2) The crookedness of American politics and the money and support that lawmakers receive from well funded special interest groups
      3) The American idea that the rights of gun owner to feel safe, powerful, strong and intimidating outweigh the rights of the majority who just want to feel safe and secure, and to remain free from fear

      I overwhelmingly support the idea of a more well defined and wholly written British constitution which might be resistant to reinterpretation by a current government. However, there is a steadfast resistance of many Americans, who cling on to the second amendment for dear life, and succeed because they can. This leads me to think that we can learn from both systems.

      Gun rights advocates in the US could do so much worse than listen of Obama on this issue. The video clip at the URL below is his reply to someone who asks:

      Why then do you and Hillary want to control and restrict and limit gun manufacturers and a responsible use of guns and ammunition to the rest of us – the good guys, instead of holding the bad guys accountable for their actions?


      I miss this guy, he is eminently sensible, always willing to listen, and he cares about these things; this is not just a political position he adopts to increase his popularity.

  4. It is distressing that this occurs at all.
    I do agree that a “good guy with a gun” is unlikely to be of much help on a campus where “possession of firearms, dangerous weapons and knives” is prohibited.

    In this particular case, the shooter’s previous felony firearms conviction should have both kept him from buying another gun, and put him in jail, where he could not commit this shooting.
    When enforcement of existing laws would have prevented such a tragedy, it seems illogical to believe the solution is more restrictions on law abiding people.

    It is not that I think an arms race between the criminal element and normal people is any kind of real solution, either. Nobody sitting in a class in a university should need to defend themselves from any sort of violent crime, much less a crazed gunman.

    1. “When enforcement of existing laws would have prevented such a tragedy, it seems illogical to believe the solution is more restrictions on law abiding people.”

      If mass shootings were always carried out by people with previous firearms felony convictions this would be a more reasonable argument, but in the US such events happen with distressing frequency and it is not the case that the perpetrator is invariably someone with a prior criminal record who could have been safely locked away beforehand. Other than more restrictions on law abiding people how do you deal with the threat posed by those shooters who remain off the radar until the day of their fateful attack?

      1. Good points. I don’t think it is very often the case that a perfectly normal person, with no history of encounters with the police or mental health issues, snaps somehow and goes on a shooting rampage without anyone having a hint that it might happen. I am not sure how we could prevent such an incident, any more than we could prevent that person from suddenly deciding to swerve into oncoming traffic.
        Most mass shootings seem to be related to gang violence and cycles of retribution.
        Even some school shootings are related to gang rivalries between students or on school grounds during sports events or the like.

        A more stereotypical lone gunman school shooter is, foremost, a profoundly mentally ill person. That level of imbalance rarely develops overnight, and tends to leave trails of foreshadowing. The Parkland and Uvalde shooters seem to have benefited from alternative youth justice programs. Those are well intentioned, and designed to keep good kids out of the justice system for youthful mistakes and poor judgement. But they also keep psychopaths from accumulating the sort of paper trail that would show up on their firearm background check.

        In other cases, Sutherland Springs as one example, authorities neglected to follow the procedures and forward reports of criminal convictions to the FBI.

        Those are cases where laws and procedures were already in place to prevent the events, but were bypassed or ignored. There seem to be many variations on that theme.

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