Thursday, February 14, 2008

NIU Shooting

I began writing a blog this morning about "school shootings", and was adding more as this just came in...

This Thursday afternoon, CNN is reporting that at least 15 people have been shot and several injured at Northern Illinois University outside Chicago.

The gunman who opened fire in a lecture hall is dead according to DeKalb police, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

The lecture hall is Cole Hall, reports say. The shooting occured shortly after 3 p.m. ET. The shooter was carrying a shotgun and a pistol.

The University has ordered its student body to seek shelter and canceled classes on this Valentine's Day, 2008.

"Its has been confirmed that there has been a shooting on campus and several people have been taken away by ambulance," the school said in a posting on its DeKalb campus Web site. "All classes are canceled on the DeKalb campus. People are urged not to come to campus."

DeKalb is 65 miles west of downtown Chicago and 45 minutes southeast of Rockford.

I was just preparing a new blog saying I expected some more shootings due to the increased media drumbeat because of the mislabeling of the killings at educational settings in Memphis and Oxnard, California, last week as "school shootings."

It seemed the media is getting bored. Slowing election news and eighteen debates mean that "school shootings" are going to be used to break the boredom. This is a reality, even if last week's "school shootings" were incorrectly labeled as such.

Recent events have been building to this, kicked off most recently by the Louisiana Technical College at Baton Rogue killings during a horrible week of violence (see past blogs here).

At the end of last week, news quickly spread of two "school shootings."

But wait.

"Classic school shootings" are of a suicidal individual invading a school and randomly shooting people, even if he seems to be targeting specific groups (e.g. athletes, girls, teachers, school officials). The ones last week were different.

Two separate cases of individual boys going into two separate schools, after conflicts with one specific individual each, and shooting one chosen victim in each site. In neither case did the two shooters act suicidal, but only revengeful. They both surrendered immediately after they shoot their single target. Nevertheless, both were reported graphically by the media as "school shootings." But they did not really deserve that description, although they technically were attempted murders in schools.

Today, this Valentine's Day morning, the wire services told that the young man who has been shot in Oxnard had died.

Now this Northern Illinois University shooting occurs, and the typical suicidal pattern appears to be repeating itself with this event. It copies the Louisiana Technical College shooting, in many ways.

{See an update that follows.}


Anonymous said...

Many people in the news tonight are calling DeKalb a small rural community. That may be true when NIU is not in session, but when school is in, it's a well-populated community with great diversity, pulling in students from all over, but many from Chicago and vicinity. It just isn't the isolated rural campus that the news has been portraying it as. However, these things can happen anywhere.

I know that current thinking seems to be that we can't monitor the activity around an open college campus the way we can other schools, but I feel it's time we make a change in that thinking. There is no reason that metal detectors and security personnel couldn't be implemented at an entrance to this lecture hall, and the other buildings on campus. Our students must be protected from behavior that seems to be becoming more common. Students in a large classroom are much too easy a target for someone that can walk in the building with a weapon. If these were downtown office buildings and there had been threats regarding this type of incident a few months ago, the security would have happened. Our young students deserve the same.

My son's fiancée attends NIU. We got text messages from her, but the cells were too busy to get an actual call through for quite a while this evening. She and my son are visibly shaken, we all are.

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that many people believe that metal detectors should be installed everywhere on college campuses, just as they are in high schools, but when you really think about this, there is no way this is possible.

As a recent college grad of a large university in Illinois, I have attended lectures in auditoriums larger than Cole Hall, ones that can accommodate 800 to 1000 people. Any college student knows that these auditoriums do not have just one entrance, they have many, not to mention many hidden stage doors. (This is due to fire codes and other structural codes that require a number of doors to be accessible so that many people can get out in a predetermined amount of time) To be able to place metal detectors and security guards at every door in every building would be an impossible feat for large universities which have sometimes over 100 sites on campus where lectures take place.

In addition, colleges are set to mirror the real world. The real world doesn't have metal detectors all over. This kind of situation could happen anywhere. Malls (Tinley Park shooting a couple weekends ago), schools, businesses, anywhere. You cannot place metal detectors everywhere. Plus, if someone really wants to find a way to create a situation like the one that just happened, they will find a way to circumnavigate all of the precautions taken.

In addition to talking about implementing precautions, we need to look at the societal reasons why this man, and many other individuals have chosen to resort to such violent means. This type of occurrence has become too prevalent. There has to be some sort of trigger in society that is causing this to happen, and until we examine society itself, these type of shootings will continue to happen.

Anonymous said...

Daniel Parmenter is a distant cousin of the founding fathers. (One of them is John Adams.)