Is it too much to say that school violence is out of hand in the United States? First Columbine, Virginia Tech and now Northern Illinois University?
Steven P. Kazmierczak, the accused shooter involved in the incident at Northern Illinois University on Feb. 14 where he allegedly shot 21 people and killed five before shooting himself, does not fit the typical profile of a gunman.
The University Police Chief Donald Grady said, “There were no red flags. He was an outstanding student, he was an awarded student, he was someone revered by the faculty, staff and students alike. So we had no indications at all.”
The Valentine’s Day shooting happened in a lecture hall where 160 students registered to attend the class. Kazmierczak had graduated the college in 2006 with a degree in sociology and had no problem of reentering the lecture hall unannounced.
It turns out that Kazmierczak and the shooter from Virginia Tech purchased weapons and accessories from the same Web site. Investigators are looking into the connection.
The shooting at Northern Illinois University occurred only less than a week after a shooting at Louisiana Technical College in Baton Rouge. In this case, it was a female shooter who killed herself and two other female students.
In my opinion, the problem is not only that school violence is out of control but there is no way to know who is going to be the perpetrator.
As our generation has grown up knowing about the incident at Columbine, we have always pinpointed shooters as Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. They are stereotypically thought of as males, loners or people outcasted by their fellow classmates like Cho Seung-Hui, the shooter at Virginia Tech.
Yet, in these incidents in Baton Rouge and Northern Illinois that occurred a week short of a fortnight apart, the shooters were not stereotypical. The first, a female. The second, a male who did well in school and seemingly had no social problems.
Nowhere seems to be safe from school violence like this. In a posting by one of my friends on her livejournal, she said, “What’s wrong with this generation?”
I think, what’s wrong that we can’t fix with this generation? If everyone could just stop and do something good for someone else every day, like in the movie “Pay It Forward,” with Haley Joel Osment, maybe nothing like this would happen again.