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Students living in a constant state of fear

EN Photo by Sam Palmisano // Many students carry some sort of protection.

By Jessica Covitz
Staff Writer

Are people living in a constant state of fear as a result of the frequent mass shootings and sex trafficking that is going on? What would that do to our communities?
The world is a dangerous place filled with uncontrollable people who do uncontrollable things. With this in mind, many people may be living their lives in a constant state of fear due to the uncertainty of whether or not terrible things will happen to them.
As many of you may know, gun violence plays a huge role in this state of fear. A large amount of school shootings has occurred recently coupled with other public shootings, likely because the access to buying weapons is so open.
There is much controversy over the idea that it is in fact the shooters who are the danger rather than the guns. But seriously, why is it so easily for mentally ill people to have access to such powerful weapons? This is likely the thought that gives people the aforementioned constant state of fear.
One too many school shootings have occurred, resulting in children being severely injured or killed. Imagine being the parents of those small children, sending them to school where they are supposed to be protected and having to bury them. Many people have a hard time making the decision of bringing a child into this dangerous world.
The fact that these shootings mostly come without warning and can happen anywhere makes it scary to even leave your house or go to a public event. Shootings have happened during concerts, movies and now even video game tournaments. Therefore, who’s to say it can’t happen while you’re grocery shopping, walking your dog, or driving?
The state of fear we live in comes from the unpredictable nature of people. It is hard now for us to trust others with our children or loved ones due to all the distress news on horrible events has caused for us.
Recently, there has been a lot of activity regarding sex trafficking and kidnapping. Sex trafficking is the trade of humans for the purpose of sexual slavery or commercial exploitation.
The main target for this industry is women. They can be as young as 14 years old to about 20 years old. That is essentially female high school and college students. It is unlikely that they will ever escape once they are brought in.
Many women and men are used within the industry for their whole teen life and once they have gotten too old or too used, they are either killed or used for some other labor. We hear stories on the news about women and girls being kidnapped or going missing, which may be a result of sex traffickers taking them.
In the area surrounding Florida Gulf Coast University there has been reports recently that sex traffickers are around. Many students have reported mysterious vehicles following them or waiting for them in blacked out vehicles. Some attackers will try to put something on their prey’s car as a way to distract them and lure them into their vehicle. It is very important to know the signs of kidnapping.
About two weeks ago, there was an attempted kidnapping in the student apartment complex called University Village. A young female student had to fight herself free from the attacker and was luckily able to escape and report it. She was also able to provide some physical characteristics of the alleged kidnapper so that others were aware of his appearance.
This event stirred up a lot of stress and worry for FGCU students and parents. The constant state of fear became extremely prevalent after that event because it hit so close to home for all of the students, especially the females.  
Ever since then, students are a lot more cautious when walking alone at night, who they are with, and having some sort of defense item on them. Pepper spray and tasers have become the new must-have item for students around campus.
Being in a constant state of fear can change your behaviors, actions and views of others. It is important to always be aware of your surroundings and to be prepared if any danger were to find you.

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