This is a gun-free zone... 

I am deeply saddened and sickened by the shooting at Northern Illinois today. For those who are new here and unaware, I am also a former NIU graduate student(MA Econ '05).

It was the latest in a serious of violent crimes that have hit pretty close to home for me.

3 weeks ago: Woman is raped and robbed at Queen Street Grocery. At 9:30 in the morning. In a good neighborhood. 2 blocks from where I work.

2 weeks ago: 5 murdered at Tinley Park Lane Bryant. Near to my childhood home. Much nearer to my sister's current home. Things like this don't happen in that neighborhood.

Today: 6 dead at NIU.
Update: A seventh died last night.
Update: They're saying it's six again.

The fact that these violent crimes all occurred in such familiar and "safe" settings makes me realize how apathetic I was to most violence that happened in "other places" to "other people." But you have to desensitize yourself. You'd literally go crazy if every crime you saw on the news had the ability to shake you to your core.

But this last one certainly has. I'm sure someone, somewhere will dub this the St. Valentine's Day Massacre Part II, and all my fellow Huskies will feel a little less safe in a place where their biggest fear should be an endless string of midterms.

I'll be praying for the survivors and the victim's families. Things like this don't happen there.

Update: The gunman is 27 year old Stephen Kazmierczak (I've also seen it as "Steven Kazmierczak"). Award-winning graduate student (2006 Dean's Award Winner from the Sociology Dept. at Northern Illinois) at the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 2005 Vice-President of the NIU Academic Criminal Justice Association.


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