ND upset by NIU shooting
John Tierney | Friday, February 15, 2008
Notre Dame students expressed sadness and shock Thursday night at yesterday’s shooting at Northern Illinois. The tragedy, in which at least six people, including the gunman, were killed and 17 were injured, occurred in a lecture hall less than three hours away from Notre Dame’s campus.
Although this generation of Notre Dame students has grown up with school shootings ranging from Columbine in 1999 to Virginia Tech last year, students haven’t become immune to the tragedy of school massacres.
“It was very tragic and scary. You have to wonder what’s going on with those kids. It makes you wonder if something like that could happen at Notre Dame,” sophomore Tim Nelson said.
Many students had not heard of the shooting by Thursday evening, including a group of seniors who stood speechless after being informed of the news.
Student body president Liz Brown noted that school shootings are becoming more common. “Unfortunately, this is kind of becoming an occurrence on college campuses across the nation. Hopefully, this trend will stop,” she said.
Brown also expressed a sense of grief at the NIU tragedy.
“This is a hard thing to react to,” she said. “This sort of thing has become all too common at schools in the United States.”
Senior Meghan Jebb, who was studying in Dublin at the time of the Virginia Tech tragedy, questioned the universality of school shootings.
“I don’t know if this kind of thing happens in other countries. After the Va. Tech shootings, the kids in Ireland were like, ‘why do they have guns?'” she asked.
Colleen Fleshman, who is from Illinois, said that her first reaction after hearing the news was to call her friends who attend NIU to make sure of their safety. She said she was relieved to find that all her friends were alright.
Although the shooter’s motivations are not yet known, some students have wondered about the timing of his attack.
“He probably picked Valentine’s Day for a reason,” junior Ryan Simmons said.
Sophomore Kyle Hagelskamp agreed.
“It’s too bad that people don’t feel the love and support of the world and resort to doing something like this,” he said. “We need to work on providing a loving and supportive environment to try to prevent this sort of tragedy.”
Brown stressed that while she obviously hopes that no similar situation would happen at Notre Dame, the University has precautions in place designed to manage a tragedy.
“Certainly we hope it would never happen at Notre Dame,” she said. “We think our campus is very safe. But if it were to ever happen, I’m thankful that we do have the correct measures in place to adequately inform the student body and react quickly.”
These measures include the Emergency Networking System that will alert students to any emergency situations through text messages, phone calls and emails. These emergency situations include shootings.