6 Dead in a Senseless Act of Violence at Northern Illinois University – What Provokes Such Anger?

February 14, 2008

As reported all over the news – both broadcast and internet – a lone gunman walked into a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University and wounded 18 people and killed 6 including himself.


According to CNN the shooting occurred shortly after 3 p.m. (4 p.m. ET) in Cole Hall. The class runs from 2 p.m. until 3:15 p.m., University President John Peters said.

“It started and it stopped very quickly,” said Police Chief Donald Grady. The gunman, whose identity has not been revealed publicly, was not a student at the NIU campus in DeKalb, west of Chicago, but “may have been a student somewhere else.”

Police do not have an apparent motive now, Grady said.

While at this moment little is know about the motive, as the days move forward and the investigation proceeds more will be revealed.

According to reports from cbs2chicago.com A viewer who e-mailed CBS 2 said that her brother was in the lecture hall where the shooting happened. “He says that the gunmen was a white male dressed in all black. He kicked the door in and opened fire. My brother dove under the desk, and popped his head up to see the gunmen was reloading. He grabbed his girlfriend’s hand and ran to the library where they been in lockdown since.”

Katie Wagner, a student who was inside the classroom, tells CBS 2 that there were 70 students inside room 101 at Cole Hall when the shooting happened. She said the gunman entered from a side door near the front of the lecture hall and started to fire shots.

Is it just me – with too much media access – or is there a pattern of anger today that is acted out in violent ways. We seems hear of unprovoked senseless acts of violence – much like the Virginia Tech University massacre of 33 people. It’s just amazing. This grabs the headlines today, but in reality it’s everywhere you turn.

In Oxnard, California a fifteen year old student was shot in the head by an unidentified 14 year old. Police have not alleged a motive for the shooting, but said there appeared to have been “bad blood” between the teens. Police said a handgun was used in the attack, which occurred with more than 20 other students in the room.

As a teen ethics speaker, (www.chuckgallagher.com) I often get the question from parents – where does the anger and violence come from?

As we struggle to make sense of the headlines we see weekly, the question that begs an answer – what makes kids these days more angry?

And more importantly, what can we do to stop the violence?

Your comments welcome!