Sabrina Ruiz

And I looked over at my friend and I was like "Is my car squeaking or is something in the car?" I don't think I'm an enemy of bugs. Um, and I don't think that they specifically don't like me. Ive just had some bad run-ins, you know? Um, I don't hate them. I've just had bad run-ins with them. This sounds bad. This sounds like I'm making excuses or something. I don't know why I'm explaining it so much. But recently me and my friend, we went to a bonfire at my other friend's house. And at the time we were staying with her mother. And her mother was like, "I have a couple of chairs in the back if you wanna bring those to the bonfire," like lawn chairs. And so we were like, "Okay, bet. Thanks." Took em, put em in my Jeep, and we went right into the bonfire. And now, my Jeep -- I like -- when I have the windows down, sometimes I can hear like a little squeak. Like when you hit a bump, it's like, "Squeak," like the suspension. But this time when I was driving, I noticed, like, it was very loud. It was really loud and it was consistent and it wasn't just when I was hitting bumps. And I looked over at my friend and I was like "Is my car squeaking or is something in the car?" And she was like, "No, no your car is just squeaking." And I was like, "No, girl. No, girl, tha- that's crickets. There are crickets in the, there are crickets in the lawn chair." I was like, "I can't do this. I cannot do this girl." I pulled over so fast into the quickest -- into the closest, um, what was it? Like a car wash, like a touchless car wash with a big old parking lot. I whipped in and, and ran out of the car and like tore the chairs out. Because, also at the time, I had a bunch of stuff in my vehicle, so if a cricket had hopped out in there, I was just gonna have to burn the whole thing. So I ripped them out. I still heard the, the menacing sound of the crickets. And I, I, I held the bottom of the bag. I like opened the, the cord and like ripped it…

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“I didn’t really realize that it was so related to this space until we drove back here.”

I felt just sad. I thought I'd feel scared and then I'd feel angry, but I felt a lot more sad than I was expecting to feel, and it's hard because I feel sad just being here. I live far away, and so I couldn't really... I didn't really wanna spend the time and energy, driving five hours to home, so my my girlfriend and I, we went to her house. She lives only like 45 minutes away. So, we went there Tuesday night. And I felt okay Tuesday, I was like, "I don't really feel like I need to go home," but she wanted to go home and I didn't want to be here alone. So I went home with her and it was... I was fine, when we were there. I felt distracted enough. I felt distant enough, and I was okay and I didn't really feel like... I dunno, I felt like I was gonna be okay, and when we got back here, she had to go almost straight to work when we got home, and just pulling on to campus and pulling into our parking lot. It was just like... Just being here in this space, it was immediate. Like, I wasn't scared, but I just - it was this immediate sense of I just felt really upset and alone and sad, and she had to go to work and then I wanted to go to the vigil that they had, but all of my friends are home and she was at work, and so I had to go alone and that... Walking there was... As soon as I got there, it felt good to be surrounded by so many people but I don't just - I don't know when... I don't know how long I'm gonna feel like this campus is no longer a place where I feel connected and comfortable and happy. I didn't really realize that it was so related to this space until we drove back here, and I just immediately felt this wave of sadness and it's like that's about being here. Just being here makes me feel this way, 'cause it's hard to go anywhere without a reminder of it, and I just don't know what to do about that. I mean, when a place you love so much is just forever tied up in this overwhelming sense of fear…

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“Thoughts and prayers to the Spartan Community today.”

I was just hoping to briefly share my condolences to the Michigan Diaries team and Michigan State Community today. Just seeing some really tough news that I, you know, can only imagine the kind of feelings that everyone's going through in the active shooter situation. So I, yeah, just wanted to offer, you know, some more words of support. Definitely have the team and the Spartans on my mind. And I saw that class schedules and sports schedules and stuff are canceled. 100% understandable. You know, I can keep making recordings. I think the planets will wait for Michigan Diaries whenever you're ready. You know, if we gotta take a week off, you know, I'll still be here. So. Or if you want to continue the pace of normalcy, I would understand that as well. Yeah. Just I have to imagine really, really tough day for everyone in East Lansing. So my thoughts and prayers to the Spartan Community today.

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“I actually was impacted more than I kind of expected…”

And then I guess the other thing that I would say about my experience about the shooting is that I think that I was a little bit in shock the next day, so the Tuesday, where I was kind of like, "Okay, something bad happened. Now let's, now let's get together and do what we can to do our job and to fix things and to whatever." And the university was sending out emails saying like, you know, "We're gonna cancel classes and make sure to take the time you need to be okay." And I was in - my body was in like action mode, and so it surprised me as time went on to find that I actually was impacted more than I kind of expected. Like, I think for the last week, I've been kind of randomly bursting into tears, like at anything. At bad news, at good news, at somebody being a little bit nice to me, at just anything. It kind of reminds me of grief almost, where it's like, you know, most of the time you kind of carry on, and then suddenly out of the blue you'll remember that the person that you love died. So I guess that's the other thing that I think is notable about my experience here, is that like basically a week after, I feel more impacted than I felt the day after, and maybe part of that is, you know, listening to stories from my students who, you know, went through their own traumas that night, either, like me, listening to the police scanner, listening to the sirens go by, listening to the helicopter as they search for this guy, or my students who were on campus, you know, hiding in their dorm room on lockdown, hoping that they're not next, you know. I think our whole community has been touched by this trauma, and I guess the flip side of that that makes me something I am grateful for is that, you know, Mr. Rogers says like, “Look for the helpers.” And I think almost everybody that I've interacted with has stepped up to try to be a helper for other people, so, you know, all of the community resources, the free counseling that's available, the businesses that are like opening up. Like, I went to Strange Matter the next day, and they were just giving…

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“It was just a lot of scariness.”

I just wanted to contribute and to answer kind of the question of where I was when I got the news about the violence that happened at MSU. So I was at home when I got the text message warning from the MSU police, and I could tell pretty quick that it wasn't one of the typical warnings. Usually they're a little... I'd say passive I guess. But I noticed pretty quickly that this one included like the instructions to "run, hide, fight" which MSU pretty much only breaks out in active violence situations. And that's when I started getting a lot of messages from people, which kind of made me realize the severity of what was going on, and I live pretty close to the hospital, so for that whole night I just kept hearing the sirens of, like, ambulances leaving, and it's also - the hospital's not too far away from the police station, so it was essentially just hearing sirens going down the street all night. The only times that I've heard, like, just that many sirens going continuously is when I've been in big cities like New York or Chicago. So that was already disconcerting, to just be listening to those sirens going all night and kinda knowing that it was bad on campus, but not necessarily having the full picture of what was going on. And I'm in a pretty big online group with other MSU students, and in it people kept getting updates on stuff that was being said on the police scanner. So I would check in on that 'cause it was easier than listening to the police scanner myself, and I know that, like, people were getting kicked off the police scanner because there were upwards of 50,000 people, like, trying to access it online, and the whatever servers they have aren't built for that level of traffic. But I just spent the whole night routinely checking in on that, not knowing what to do. Like, I knew I was far enough away from campus that I was safe, but I was still worried and feeling just ultimately powerless. I would check in to see updates that people were giving from the police scanner, and there was a lot of misinformation going around. Maybe not misinformation, but just that the police scanner was reporting on anything that was getting called in, and…

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“… How many people at U of M were really grieving and how many people across the state had to be grieving.”

The next morning, I had a meeting first thing in the morning, and that's - I mean, I was thinking all of my connections to MSU are like second order, right? I mean, I know people who know somebody at MSU. One - two of the people at work that started in the last year used to work at MSU, one of their spouses still does. You know, a friend in my book club went to MSU, her daughter has friends there. So it's all that kind of connection. But I have found anytime there's this kind of violence on a college campus, it does feel a little bit more... I dunno, a little more concrete, a little - it hits a little closer to home. And anyway, when I got to campus, I think that's when it really became clear to me, you know, how many connections people at U of M have to MSU. People are alums, people have family members that attended or are currently attending, or they work there or used to work there. You know, and really that's true across the whole state because, you know, MSU is a big institution, it's got students who attend from, you know, every county. So I was really struck by how many people at U of M were really grieving and how many people across the state had to be grieving, and everybody who was on the agenda spoke about it a little bit, and we had a moment of silence and it was very... You could hear their voices wavering and, you know, it was just clearly hard to talk about, and one of the people, [NAME], reminded everybody on the call, "You know, you may have staff members who have kids who want to go home, you know, they're gonna be leaving to go pick them up." And I dunno. There were all these... I keep saying the same thing over and over again, but I guess I just - I was just struck by the connections. How much this story touched people, really really close to them, and then I guess I later found out that someone in our building, their niece or nephew was one of the people who were critically injured. And then later this week, I had met a bunch of people for brunch, and one of them was from Lansing and…

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“I… can’t imagine the fear of being in a situation like that.”

Yeah. I just, yeah, I can't - I didn't - first off, can't imagine the fear of being in a situation like that, but then the fear of another person potentially being the cause of a life or death situation, like while you are trying to protect yourself. It did appear that they were able to get him to refrain from opening the door. But yeah, and it's interesting to me to think about like, okay. I honestly can't remember if I received any sort of shooter training while I was in school. We definitely got like sexual assault training and things like that. I'm not sure if we had gotten anything about shooter training at that point. But I have had it at my current workplace. It just got me thinking about, how effective something like that is, especially when you're like actually put into the moment and your adrenaline is pumping, and it did make me curious if these students had received any sort of information about how to respond to an active shooter, and how that particular situation of the student going to the dorm might've been different if they did, but again if they did and, you know, when your adrenaline is pumping, that just kind of all goes out the window because we're seeing - I mean, we're taught to see the police as on our side and as, you know, not just for our own safety, but in that moment that easily could've been a shooter who was pretending to be the police who had a flashlight and was using it to manipulate the people inside to open the door, so that yeah, he could finish his business. It's really unfortunate these people feel like they have to do this to be able to make a name for themselves whenever they're gone. There's so many more other alternative routes that you could go that don't harm other people, or yourself whenever you're... when you're feeling like that and yeah. Definitely a really unfortunate situation. I feel for my friends and family who live down state in that community, in the Lansing community. I do have a friend that works there who I know is heavily impacted by the event, as they should be, and their partner as well.

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“Those are people’s friends and kids and siblings…”

Note: There is language that is excluded in the transcript but not excluded in the audio. But yeah, hearing about that. It's like oh s***. It's in my community, at large. It's, you know, it's not here here. It's not NMU. Yet. But it's here. It's getting closer. It feels inevitable. I'm waiting for it to happen here. I'm waiting for it to be NMU next. And I hate that. So, when I heard about it, my thoughts were, “Is this real life? Of course it's real life. God d*****." Well, I suppose it's just a matter of time now until it's here. The only - I don't - I wouldn't call it a good thing obviously, but the the only - I don't even if you'd call it a silver lining of something like that happening, is I guess at least I'll have the empathy to understand what people at the center of these things feel like, what the smaller community surrounding the shooting at MSU feels like. I guess at least I'll be able to understand people's feelings and be better support for them, because it's just a helpless feeling. I'm not the one with the guns. I'm not the one with the magic pen that signs laws into existence. I can call my representatives, email them as much as I want, which I do do, and nothing changes. So it's just helplessness. It's bracing myself, waiting for this to happen in my local community because it's gonna, until we do something about it. Until the people who can do something about it, do something about it. And like I mentioned, I think Michigan is gonna end up stepping up and doing something about it, but it just sucks that the catalyst has to be people dying, because those are people's friends and kids and siblings, and those people were some people in the world. They're future spouses or best friends or the inventors of crazy awesome things or just people that make other people feel happy to be alive, and now they are gone. Just because. Just because. I hate it. So here's to hoping Michigan does something about it that the federal government keeps not doing about it.

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“I was afraid to even check in with my friends.”

I think you know what happened last night, and I can't get my mind off that in the slightest. Here I was... I was lucky. I was in my apartment when the shelter in place order went out. So, I mean I wasn't really planning on leaving, I was in the apartment that night anyway. I was planning to get some homework done, and just, you know, maybe watch some Netflix or something. What ended up happening is I ended up not being able to do anything but watch the news in terror, because some of the people that I love most were barricading themselves in classrooms as an active shooter killed three people, injured five more, and was on the loose for four - over four hours. It wasn't my own safety that I was worried about. I was, you know, in an apartment off campus, about a mile away from everything that was going on, and I thought it was a possibility here. He could have ended up over in my area because, you know, it took four hours to at least for the police to confirm they found him, about what ended up happening. But you know, I didn't think. Even if he did, you know, come over to my apartment complex, I was on the fifth floor. Shades drawn, locked door, locked from the - you know, the building's locked down too. It wasn't me I was worried about. But I knew people who were across the street when the shooting started. I knew people who were at club events, who, as I said before, barricaded themselves in classrooms, but unfortunately, one of them was in a room which the door swung out and couldn't lock, so that barricade wouldn't have done a whole awful lot. One of my friends, I mean, he wasn't home at the time, but apparently he sent us a video that his roommate sent him of the shooter waiting outside on their lawn for a few minutes. It was definitely... It was definitely that guy too. He was wearing the same outfit as the official suspect photos. And I sat there and I waited, terrified for the safety of everyone I knew in Michigan. Then I was afraid to even check in with my friends, because I was worried that, you know, the ding went off or if, you know, their…

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