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Lafayette Strong

A community bands together

To say that all of us were surprised by last night’s news of a gunman opening fire in a local theater is a gross understatement. We were stunned and sickened by the senseless act of violence. We were deeply worried about the injured and even more devastated by the loss of Jillian Johnson and Mayci Breaux, two of our neighbors. Suddenly, the happiest city in the country was inconsolable.

But very quickly, stories emerged of selflessness and heroism – stories that reflect the kind of community we are. One local teacher, Jena Meaux, threw her body over fellow teacher Ali Martin, preventing the bullet from hitting Ali in the head. Though Ali was struck in the knee, she nonetheless had the courage and presence of mind to pull the fire alarm, potentially saving even more lives. Two bystanders, with little regard for their own safety, pulled one injured woman from the theater and brought her to an area hospital. And then there was our local police force, arriving on the scene in under a minute, rushing toward the shooting, and EMTs arriving just shortly thereafter, tending to the injured.

Last night we sought answers and motives, some way of understanding what really does surpass understanding. But this morning, in the clear light of day, we stopped seeking and remembered. We remembered that we are touched but not defined by violence. That we will find consolation in our faith. That we are a tight-knit community that will emerge stronger in the wake of this tragedy.

Stay strong, Lafayette.



Jennifer Bullock

I've been with Stuller since 2011 • LSU grad. Geaux, Tigers! • Taught high school English and history for six years • Get lost everywhere I go. Everywhere. • Best vacation ever: Austria • Life-long goal is to visit every continent.