The deadliest mass shooting in Plano’s history, claiming the lives of five alumni, was a direct result of domestic violence. The Mercury stands against domestic violence and calls upon Comets to do more to recognize and prevent abuse.
Ultimately, one man’s violent actions took nine people’s lives and 10 families are forever affected.
While alumna Meredith Hight hosted a football watch party at her Plano home last Sunday, her estranged husband, Spencer Hight, arrived at the party, killing her and seven other people. She recently filed for divorce from Spencer after six years of marriage.
Darryl Hawkins, Myah Bass, Caleb Edwards, and alumni Anthony Cross, Olivia Deffner, James Dunlop and staff member Rion Morgan were also killed in the shooting. One victim, Carly Shockey, is currently in the hospital and in critical condition.
Unfortunately, incidents such as this happen all too often. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found that 55 percent of female homicides in the United States were due to domestic violence and out of those, four out of five women were killed by their romantic partner.
As Comets, we need to come together and speak out against domestic violence, help those in abusive relationships and spread awareness of the issue.
It shouldn’t take the shocking murder of alumni to spur change. Our community needs to address the problem of domestic violence to make sure no one else loses their child, their friend or their life.
A local organization you can donate to is Hope’s Door New Beginning, a Plano-based nonprofit organization providing services to those affected by family violence.
Another important step we can take to combat domestic violence is offering resources and support to those who need it. It’s also critical to know that domestic abuse is not always physical. It can also manifest as emotional or psychological mistreatment, which is not always as evident.
As a community, we need to listen, provide a welcoming space and support to those who are affected by domestic abuse. Even if the victim does not decide or is unable to leave their abuser, we need to make sure not to judge them for the situation they’re facing, as leaving a violent relationship is difficult and sometimes deadly.
If you know anyone who needs help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 or access campus resources including the Galerstein Gender Center, Student Counseling Center and UTD Police.
— Miriam Percival, Ariana Hadden, Bhargav Arimilli, Summer LeBel, Ruth Varghese, Chad Austin, Saher Aqeel, Bharat Arimilli, Carolina Alvarez