Chattanooga Strong through a Tiger’s Eye
Kaitlyn Martin, Managing Editor
In some way, shape or form, most people in Chattanooga have emotions tied to the battle cry “Nooga Strong” that was adopted after the shootings of July 16, 2015. For students here on campus, it hits a little closer to home considering the shooting took place less than a mile away which resulted in the campus being locked down.
Since some of you weren’t on campus, The Communicator sought out students who were on campus during the lockdown in order to get a different perspective on the tragic events that took place on July sixteenth. Wes Lee Austin, a theatre and Spanish major at Chattanooga State Community College, volunteered to give his view on the events as well as his thoughts on Chattanooga Strong. Austin described what started out as just any other ordinary day on campus as he said, “I was in the cafeteria eating my lunch while on my laptop just trying to get my classes organized for this semester.” When asked about his initial thoughts about hearing the campus was on lock down Austin stated, “Confusion. I didn’t know what was going on, so the minute they tell me to go hide, I grab all my stuff and just start running to the nearest classroom.” He continued as he said, “It wasn’t until later that I saw it on the news and I realized there was a shooting…not only that but that was a shooting that happened near the reserve center on Amnicola highway near the college.” Though the incident may have initially felt terrifying and surreal, Austin then began to rally with the rest of community at Nooga Strong events.
Austin volunteered to support the Chattanooga Strong cause by any means, such as taking photography and leaving photographs at the memorials, as he said “I support it one hundred perfect. Here we are supporting our community because we never knew something like this would ever happen…You see it in other cities on T.V….but to see it happen in Chattanooga of all places. I think it was a big shock to all of us.” To think that these tragic events took place less than a mile away from our peaceful, quaint campus is jaw dropping, but to know that some of our students were here stricken with paralyzing fear really hits home.