Friday, February 15, 2008

My Heart is with You NIU

Yesterday, around 3 pm, gunman Stephen Kazmierczak entered a crowded lecture hall at Northern Illinois University and began shooting. Kazmierczak, a graduate of NIU, managed to shoot 21 people before turning the gun on himself. Tragically five individuals have died, six including Kazmeirczak.

As a college student myself, I am greatly saddened and disturbed by this catastrophic occurrence. Why would anyone want to inflict such pain and horror on fellow classmates? Classmates that are innocent, and most likely did not even know the gunman. How can an individual like Kazmeirczak not realize the impact of his selfish, sadistic, jarring actions? Have we lost all sense of humanity for our fellow man? Appallingly, these shootings are becoming more common on college campuses. It is impossible to not mention Virginia Tech when speaking of college shootings. It has been less than a year since the massacre that plagued VT and we already have another grim shooting to witness. As I watch the constant coverage on CNN, I am troubled by the root of these acts and what can be done to prevent them. Are they even preventable? Is this solely an American crisis? I don't recall hearing about many shootings at colleges across the globe (and I am an avid news watcher).

I have a confession. Consequently, after the VT shooting I found myself anxious in class. When the thoughts would present themselves, I would sit and look around the classroom or lecture hall, attempting to figure out the best escape strategy. This would happen often, until I must have exhausted my plan for each class. I can only imagine how much pain and terror other students who have actually experienced such tragedy feel. Five innocent people lost their lives yesterday simply going to class. Safety is a right that should be provided to every indviudal. College students, under any circumstance, should not be afraid to go to class! I fear that we will lose sensitivity to these shootings and become numb to these tragedies. However, we must react. These dispicable campus shootings are not normal. Unfortunately, there is no erasing what has happened but we can honor the lives lost by working together to help stop these events from happening. There is always something we can do, always.

My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of yesterday's tragedy,their families and the university. I am so, so sorry for your loss.

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