Just watching Fox News with their first live report concerning the tragedy that is unfolding at Northern Illinois University. Another sad day for students, as a white male walked into a packed lecture hall with three firearms and started shooting. He then killed himself. As of this writing, he’s murdered four students.
Six Five killed as of Friday morning, and the shooter identified as 27-year-old Steven Kazmierczak — former Northern Illinois University graduate student.
Prayers go out to the faculty, staff and students at NIU. No one wants these events to happen on campus. Young adults at that age should be having a good time, making life-long friends and learning a few things along the way.
A freshman being interviewed by the Fox correspondent mentioned an incident in December that led university officials to close the campus during finals week.
The school was closed for one day during final exam week in December after campus police found threats, including racial slurs and references to shootings earlier in the year at Virginia Tech, scrawled on a bathroom wall in a dormitory. Police determined after an investigation that there was no imminent threat and the campus was reopened.
The young lady being interviewed was heading home. She said she was “too close.” She also mentioned that after the incident in December that the university staff and police said “they were safe.”
No, you were not. Safe is defined as being secure from danger, harm, or evil. Safe is a relative term.
NIUs Student Code of Conduct (PDF, 1.65mb) prohibits weapons including shotguns and handguns on campus. If students wish to bring firearms onto campus, they must get permission and leave them at the University Security Office. Reports state that the shooter was not a NIU student, but may have been a student from another school.
After the Virginia Tech tragedy, a dialog began concerning students carrying concealed weapons on campus. Many law-biding, qualified citizens are allowed to carry a concealed weapon, but they are being denied that right at some schools.
We must be open to allowing these young adults – and teachers – to carry a firearm so they have an opportunity to defend themselves. It’s their right to do so. Give them the opportunity to level the playing field during tragedies like this.
Students will never be safe on campus, and we need to stop giving the impression that schools are safe just because the code of conduct bans weapons.
Note: Illinois is one of two states – the other being Wisconsin – where your right to carry is denied. (Washington D.C. also denies this right) You may not carry a pistol concealed or open. When traveling with firearms, laws require that they be locked up and inaccessible. You can find more information concerning your state laws at one of the Web sites listed below, or at your state government’s Web site.