Friday, February 15, 2008

NIU Shooting

It turns out my friend was in the next building to where the shootings occurred. He was in the Stevens building, the tragedy happened in the Cole building.

Here is an interactive map that shows you how close it was (south central campus).

Here is the information I've gotten so far (I'm not sure what the media is reporting and don't have time to check right now so this is just what my friend says):

It appears the killer was a Sociology Graduate Student at NIU that transferred to the University of Illinois campus at Champagne. Apparently he was well liked and won awards so this is unexpected, to say the least. They don't seem to know why he transferred at this point but perhaps it was heartbreak? That's the last I'm going to talk about him because I don't want him to get any more attention.

I am told the Police arrived on the scene 1 minutes and 29 seconds after the 911 call. That is pretty impressive and shows that the planning done after Virginia Tech may have been effective even if the results were bad.

As soon as events were known, my friend and his colleagues locked the building shut and holed up for over an hour until the all clear was given. The Stevens Building is a concrete building with steel doors so it was considered rather safe. He and his coworkers spent the time attempting to keep the students calm through what must have been the most strenuous event of their lives.

The campus is closed until at least Monday with several events cancelled.

It is at times like this you realize how tenuous our grip is on life. My friend was a hundred yards and one insane person's decision away from not joining me on my birthday tomorrow. Just 100 yards and plans of joy and fun we'd had for months would have turned to sorrow and mourning.

And for at least 6, it has (I don't count the piece of shit shooter). I can only lower my head in sympathy for the victims of this disaster and their friends. The pain caused when life is lost by sudden tragedy is only magnified when that life is young and full of promise. God bless the victims and their families.

Update: A sad exchange. I asked my friend if he knew any of the victims and he said "I don't know. I don't recognize any of the names of the people that were killed."

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