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.


Jan Brogan said...

Dear Julie,
I got to your blog via DL. I have kids in college too and I've been reading about these events and feeling for the kids and their parents. I'm so sorry you, your daughter and her friends had to go through this. This must shatter all trust in a reasonable world. I don't know what the answer is, but it sure seems like these shootings have become a daily experience in colleges, malls, churches.... It's become a crazy culture.

Thank God your daughter and her friends are safe. My thoughts and prayers go out to them and to the parents and children who suffered the ultimate in this tragedy.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad to hear Sara and her friend came through unscathed, although the emotional ramifications will be there. As a parent it's frightening sometimes to see how the world has changed and how many fears our children have to face that were unthinkable when we were that age.

Julia Buckley said...


I forgot your daughter went there! How chilling for you all--I'll be praying for everyone.

Was this killer a previously convicted person? My take is that these school shooters have never committed a crime before, so naturally the responsibility falls not on the police, but on the person's family, school, teachers, counselors, and all the people who might foresee trouble. We have to start looking, too, at the larger problem of why people who are suicidal suddenly, in the last ten years or so, want to take others with them, and want to do so in a public way that they have twisted into a "glorious" death.

I hope this doesn't make your daughter afraid to go back to school, but I think I would feel that way.

Michelle said...


It has been such a tragic month in your neck of the woods! And all over, when you look at recent news. I'm so glad your daughter is all right. My only note is that as far as I've heard so far neither of the recent gunmen, or any of the others involved in recent school killings, had any sort of prior record of arrests or trouble with the police. So I wonder if the answer might be more gun control? (I realize that in saying this I'm opening up a terrifying can of 2nd amendment worms, but there you go...)

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone afraid to say the words GUN CONTROL? I'm sure I'm not the only one who's tired of NRA lobbyists bribing our elected officials to keep all guns legal--especially assault rifles. The man who did this legally bought two guns last week. Where was the background check? He was on medication. Why no red flags?

I don't want a police state, either, but I don't like it that everyone who wants to buy a gun--can.

Mark Murphy said...

Julie: I'm sorry you and your family went through this. Even though your daughter was not injured, I know it still must be traumatic.

Janet Reid said...

Hi Julie, I'm glad your daughter is ok. I remember feeling something akin to what you're talking about when Kip Kinkle shot people at Thurston High School in Oregon. I'm from Oregon. I was wild, wild with fear and rage that kids had to be afraid of guns at school.

That said, Kip Kinkle hadn't ever been convicted of a crime. He got his guns legally. I haven't checked each incident recently to see if the perpetrators had criminal records but my guess is that they didn't. In fact, it's illegal for felons to own guns.

It's very easy to buy a gun. It's very easy to carry a gun around legally.

Other democracies do not have this kind of gun violence, so equating gun control with loss of rights is disingenuous. Think Japan, Britain for starters. Gun deaths there are a rarity.

Yet, NYC doesn't allow handgun ownership, and we have thousands of gun deaths a year.

I don't know what the answer is. I wish I did.

I do know I'm very glad you're daughter is safe, and I wish everyone had been safe as well.

Julie Hyzy said...

Thank you, everybody, for your words of support. I know that the killer in this instance didn't have a police record. In fact, it sounds as though he was a model student in his NIU days. I can't even begin to fathom what happened here.

I am grateful to have my daughter home and I promise to try to do my part -- however small -- to make the world a better place every day.