When you go to college in a university town in a rural area, you live in a bubble. I went to such a college, Illinois State University. The primary major was education, followed very closely by agriculture/farming. You truly live in a bubble. The cares and concerns of the world seem so far away. There is crime, of course, but extremely violent crime is rare.
I am horrified by the shooting at Northern Illinois University yesterday. I just keep thinking, “Northern?? NIU???? Are you kidding me???” The university is the definition of living in a bubble. DeKalb is in the middle of absofreakinglutely nowhere. Seriously. As you’re driving west on I88, it’s cornfield…cornfield…soybeans…big honkin’ over-the-highway oasis where you can get a bite to eat and pee…cornfield…DeKalb…cornfield…all the way to the Mississippi River. NIU was one of the schools on my colleges list before choosing ISU.
Yes, I know this can happen anywhere. Trust me, I know. We lived out here when Columbine happened; Tom was teaching then. That was horror in forms never seen before. Even today, it pops up maybe once a month or so on the news, even all these years later. And I know it happened last year at Virginia Tech. But NIU??? It’s so rural. It seemed so safe.
Despite the horror at NIU, I am relieved to hear that emergency response was so quick and well-planned. We may never know what was going on in the shooter’s mind; I did hear a brief report about possible medications he was on but not taking…I may need another rant about the state of mental health care in this country. Please pray/light a candle/do what is comfortable for you for the students and families of NIU. Their bubble has burst, and it cannot be repaired. If a violent shooting like this can happen someplace like NIU!!!!!, it can and will happen anywhere.