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OPINION: Western Stands with Umpqua

On Thursday, Oct. 2, the lives of students at Umpqua Community College were changed forever when a professor and eight students lost their lives. The staff at The Western Front would like to extend our utmost sorrow for those who lost their lives:   Lucero Alcaraz, 19; Quinn Glen Cooper, 18; Kim Saltmarsh Dietz, 59; Lucas Eibel, 18; Jason Dale Johnson, 33; Lawrence Levine, 67; Sarena Dawn Moore, 44; Treven Taylor Anspach, 20; and Rebecka Ann Carnes, 20.   Lumps since formed in our throats and heaviness weighed down our hearts after word of the tragedy spread. As students ourselves, it is hard to even imagine such a horrible event taking place at our own school. Each of these nine people led a unique life before the events of October 2, and each should be remembered for those lives, rather than their deaths. They volunteered with animals and earned scholarships. They enjoyed dance and karate. They were kind and tenacious. They were determined and passionate. They were people and they leave behind friends and family devastated by their loss. As our own days of classes and homework continue, perhaps spare a few moments to think of those who, just like us, were building paths toward a better future. Keeping in mind how quickly those paths were cut short can teach an important lesson in appreciating what we have. Walking the trails and hallways of Western comes with a sense of safety that has never been compromised to such a horrible degree. This security is something every student deserves while at their place of learning. However, this seems to be less and less common these days, as Umpqua marks the 45th mass shooting on a school campus in the U.S. this year alone — 17 of which occurred on college campuses. The time for thinking of a solution will come soon, but now is the time to stand with Umpqua and the community of Roseburg, Oregon. Honor the memories of the fallen, honor the heroes who kept this tragedy from growing any larger and honor the opportunities we all still have to live our lives to the fullest. “This is the saddest day in the 50 year history of UCC. Our hearts go out to every student, every employee, and every family touched by this tragedy,” said Umpqua Interim President Rita Cavin in a statement on the college’s website. "I want to thank all of our friends and neighbors who have dropped everything to help us. Over the next weeks, we will come together to accept offers of help and care so that we can assist one another." Our staff stands with Umpqua, our campus stands with Umpqua. For while we come from different places, have different opinions and walk different paths, all our lives are precious and deserve to be lived. Stand tall and walk strong in honor of Umpqua.   A video tribute to the victims can be viewed on the college’s website and donations can be made to The Upmqua Community College Foundation at  

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