I know you've all heard, and you've probably figured out that NIU is my home turf. My son is a grad student there. Because my long-lost-husband is technically a faculty member there, we have many friends there. Heck, I have many friends there who have nothing to do with him.
Everyone I know and love is physically and psychically fine. But it's still been a hard few days. I NEVER EVER want to relive the hour when I couldn't locate my son.
I said, a jillion years ago with the first school shooting, that one thing I wanted to explore in an academic sense was how -or if- a community healed after such an event. What works? What doesn't? What is understandable but misguided? How long does it take? I never got out to Colorado or Arkansas or Virginia or anywhere else to do the research. How tragic that it will be easy now.
At this point I have nothing wise or insightful to say. I do have this beginning of a thought. The solution is about gun control rather than mental illness, I think. In idle chatter, some wonder whether people with diagnosed mental illnesses should be on college campuses. Should we require medication monitoring, perhaps? Should we, metaphorically speaking, put a big fence around the university and keep crazy people off?
Along with the fact that it's a state school and I'm not sure how you could justify keeping citizens off the property, there's the reality that it isn't necessarily a student or a staff memeber who would commit a crime like this. Anyone with a gun could walk onto a campus and get to work. It's the guns that are the problem. Not the access.
Anyway... we're healing. We're procesing our reactions. We're mostly doing okay. Please think comforting thoughts for the families of the dead. They're cleaning out dorm rooms and claiming personal possessions in the next few days. Funerals will start tomorrow. I can't begin to imagine their suffering, but we should do what little we can to ease it.