International News

One Year Since the Indianapolis Fedex Mass Shooting

By: Komal Chohan

My cousins drove from hospital to hospital to look for Jane Does and they were calling the police to get updates but there was no word. At 6 PM the next day, my uncle went to identify the body and confirmed that she had passed away. Amarjeet Johal, my grandmother, was one of the first people to encounter the shooter. She was on her way to start her car so it could warm up for everybody that was carpooling with her; This was also the time she took to call her daughter in California or her sister in India to catch up. She lost her life doing what she did best: being selfless.

There was a whole month of vigils and memorials held where the community came out to show support, but there has been little change systematically to prevent more events like this from occurring despite this being the 3rd mass shooting in Indianapolis in 2020 (Staff). Even though little progress has been made in a year, initially this event did shed light on the workers’ rights that were being violated by FedEx simply because they didn’t know they had them so they couldn’t advocate for them.

We learned that many of the workers were immigrants that couldn’t read the signage, which is a problem because fire emergency, safety routes, etc. are all written on the signages in case of severe emergencies. More importantly, we learned that the security was more focused on if the workers were stealing items from the facility than they were about keeping the facility safe from objects or people coming from outside. For a company that is worth over $50B, it was surprising to see how little worth they put on their employees.

There never seems to be a day where we turn on the news and something happy is being broadcasted. Instead, every day we wake up and have pictures of victims and criminals flashed in our faces reminding us of what a scary world we live in. However, we have normalized this thought because we see the same violent things every day. And even though we see terrible events occur every day, we hope and pray that it will never hit close to home.

On April 15, 2020, I was getting ready to go to bed when I got an alert on my phone that there was a mass shooting at the FedEx facility by my parent’s house. I have about 10 family members that work here and my mind was racing. I immediately contacted my cousins and got onto social media to see what was going on. There was no new information that night and all we knew was that we could potentially get information at a meeting point not far from the building. The family members that weren’t harmed were able to be picked up from there and brought home, but we still had 1 family member missing, my grandmother.

Since these flaws were so apparent, the community was able to continuously push for change with the help of attorneys, the Sikh Coalition from DC, to make sure FedEx was catering to the workers. But on a larger scale, this isn’t enough. Gun violence killed nearly 20,000 Americans in 2020 (Thebault and Rindler). Ending gun violence is complex because how do you get the almost 300 million guns off the streets or how do you ensure everybody that can mentally handle one has access to a gun and they’re only in “safe hands”?

As I was beginning to heal from this trauma, I wanted to get educated on the topic because I found it important that I know what was going on as I will be set free in the legal field one day. One day I could sway somebody’s opinion that can ensure something like this won’t happen again. As I remember my grandmother a year after losing her, I ask everybody to at least get involved in the conversation on how to keep our citizens safe from guns. I never thought that gun violence would hit so close to home, until it came and slapped me in the face.