15 February 2008

There are no words

Ordinarily I reserve the right to be a curmudgeon on Valentine's Day. This trumps any holiday.

The fourth school shooting this week and the most lethal. Why?
Is the "school shooter" phenomenon spreading virally i.e. one incident sets off the next and the next (think Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point)?
If this bozo (who by now has been identified as a former student of NIU, now at Illinois Champaign-Urbana) felt the need to exterminate himself, why kill people he didn't know? Why? None of them did a damn thing to him. What irritates me most is that shooters like these take the coward's way out, taking no responsibility for their actions.
Incidents like these weigh heavily on me because I would like to return to school and eventually end up as a professor. Will I need to always be on my guard in case a student, disgruntled by the lack of an "A," comes to my office with a weapon? Will I need to carry one myself? Will I have to lock my classroom doors once I begin teaching a class? Will we all need to swipe our ID badges to gain access to buildings and classrooms? Will I need to be schooled in psychological profiling to identify students in need? It is mind boggling. I am not an advocate of having more weapons because that really won't solve the problem. In nearly every school shooting as of late, the attacks were a surprise, none of them were previously suspected by school officials, security officers, or the shooters' friends. Even if a member of the class had a gun, a high powered weapon can spew dozens of bullets in just a few seconds, enough to kill or severely injure many people before that class member could procure his/her weapon.
There is no easy answer.
May the family members of the victims find peace and solace in one another. God bless.

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