NIU - Valentine Day Shooter

Shooting at NIU: 7 dead, 22 wounded

The constant hum of helicopter motors is strange for this small town.

The big question is why? In cases like this there is no reason, no logic. There is no why. In my mind the why doesn't matter. Seven people went to school this morning, young full of life, never dreaming that they wouldn't make it home that evening to share Valentine's with their loved ones.

Parents sent their children to school, offering them everything they had so that their children could be offered every opportunity to be successful. Now they are crying, wishing they had never sent them away from home. A parent's job is to keep their children safe and healthy and to love them always. They will continue to love their children, but they will not see them again in this lifetime and never again have the opportunity to keep them safe.

Life is fleeting and precious, but who among us understands this fact unless something like this happens? Then, in time, this feeling will fade until it happens again. I felt awful when I heard about Columbine, about Virginia Tech, but to be honest that was "somewhere else." I had prayed for those families in earnest, but the shock I felt yesterday made me physically ill. I had difficulty focusing, my hearing was muffled. I felt a disconnect between reality and what I was viewing. It was the same feeling I had on 9•11. "All those people." I could feel the suffering of the people caught, jumping, their families... true suffering, not just a heart ache, but a soul ache.

I heard the news through a co-worker whose friend had called him on his cell to say that he was locked in the Holmes Student Center basement because there had been a shooting. It was difficult to look at my co-worker's face. I could see the concern, disbelief, and sorrow. His other friends started calling, the news kept getting worse. I felt badly for him. He is a young guy and this is probably the first time he has had to deal with something so tragic as an adult.

Is it so difficult to try to be good. Even if you think about doing something bad, is it so difficult to say to yourself, "No!"? When I was young the world was black and white. The older I get, the easier it is to see the grays. It is more confusing, but I still have a sense of right and wrong, black and white... and now red. Society today doesn't see the gray. They only acknowledge the black or white after the fact. Little by little, slowly and imperceptibly, like the proverbial frog in a pot of boiling water, society had gone insane. Drug addicts, drunkards, liars, those materialistic ideals - those are the people society raises up as "successful." Think about the celebrities we and our children want to be like. Are they good people? Do we really want to be like that? Does their plight entertain us? Should it?

Morality is not based on the highest common denominator any longer. We have lowered ourselves so that the basest among us rule. If you tell someone they are wrong, it is someone else's fault. If you say what they did was bad, you are being judgmental. If you notify authorities, you are interfering. Following the law or obeying rules is for "someone else." Everyone feels they are the exception. Society cannot function in this way.

In the end all we can do is try to be good ourselves. Try to do good for others, maybe that kindness and generosity and loving will rub off onto them. I know that when a stranger does a kindness to me, my faith in humanity is renewed. It is the small things in life that build on one another. Smile at a stranger. Open the door for someone behind you. Let an older person have that parking space close to the door. Tell those close to you that you love them. Play peek-a-boo with a baby who is crying. It doesn't a great person with unlimited funds to change the world. It takes you.

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