Tuesday, February 19, 2008

NIU update - Heroes in the midst of chaos

Earl Merkel is a friend of mine (and a fabulous author). His son, Jeff, a student at NIU, was one of the heroes who came to the aid of victims in the midst of chaos.

Sun-Sentinal reporter Oline Cogdill blogged about Earl's son today. Please take a look.


I'm glad there are people like Jeff in this world.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Northern Illinois University Shooting

First - my daughter, Sara, is okay. She called me yesterday before the news even hit to let me know she was all right and to tell me she was worried about a friend of hers who wasn't answering her cell phone.

As it turns out, Sara's friend was in the lecture hall when the gunman opened fire. She's unhurt -- and, in fact, came over here last night to share her story -- but I'm horrified and angry that this could happen to innocent kids yet again.

As I listened to Sara's friend tell it - from the moment the gunman entered, until she finally believed she was safe - I was overcome with emotion and chilled to my core. This is a resilient kid, and I think she'll be okay, but I was just taken aback by the step-by-step terror she lived through. No one should have to live through such a thing.

Earlier this month a different gunman killed five shoppers in a Lane Bryant store very close to my home. Everyone is asking - Why wasn't there more security? What are the police doing to catch the guy?

The police are doing the best they can. And we, as a nation, have to stop expecting to be protected from the weirdos of the world when our system routinely prevents these weirdos from paying the price for their offenses.

We live in a society that works so hard to protect the rights of criminals that we trample on the rights of the innocent. So few convicted individuals ever fully pay the price for their crimes. Why should they stop stealing, killing, or raping? If there are no consequences, then why obey the law at all?

We look at these recent horrors and complain that the police aren't doing enough. But the moment they stop a crime in progress, it is the police who are taken to task for overstepping their boundaries.

I am not against civil rights. I truly believe in Ben Franklin's statement that those who are willing to give up liberty for the sake of security deserve neither. I'm not advocating a police state. Quite the opposite. I'm advocating a return to reasonableness -- and a return to following the laws we already have in place. If a killer is convicted - do *not* let him out to kill again. Don't put him in a nice jail with the opportunity to better himself. Lock him up forever and let him know that his life is over. That's it. Let's quit making things nice for criminals because we want to rehabilitate them. Let's spend that money, instead, on keeping our economy sound and our education top-notch. Let's stop encouraging criminals because pretty soon they'll outnumber the innocent.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Oh, Poe!

I'm planning to go to the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Awards banquet this year! First time ever!

In honor of my excitement, I want to share something very special with you.

My daughter, Robyn, recently painted her unique depiction of Edgar Allan Poe, and has graciously agreed to allow me to post it. The portrait appears on my website links page: http://www.juliehyzy.com/links.html and was done in acrylic and tar. Yes, you read right ... tar.

This is a scan of a scan, but I think it's still such a great piece that I wanted to highlight it on my site. As you know Robyn maintains a blog and updates occasionally http://robyn-hyzy.blogspot.com/. She doesn't have her Poe piece on the blog, so I convinced her to let me put it on mine.