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Close To The Community — Why Now?
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Close To The Community

CNN, and everyone else, is reporting 6 shot dead, including gunman, at Northern Illinois University.

Normally I wouldn’t mention it, but Michael at Musing’s musings works and studies there. He’s OK, but it won’t be over for a while – not for Michael or anyone else in the area.


1 Scorpio { 02.15.08 at 4:19 pm }

Nevertheless, I find it a bit offensive to come across major news sites like CNN or MSNBC that have places for readers to “express their condolences” or “share their thoughts”. Personalizing tragedies of this kind is a sort of ego puffing that’s nauseating. Who’s it all about? The idiot that leaves a message, of course.

Moreover, it is time and past time for news agencies to fail to release the names of felons who use other people for skeet. Let them die anonymous and unmourned.

2 Bryan { 02.15.08 at 4:52 pm }

They have to fill their hours and inches, and they don’t care who they glorify to do it.

3 Michael { 02.15.08 at 11:46 pm }

I’m going to have to beg to differ, Scorpio. Partly on “No man is an island, entire of itself…” grounds, and partly on “bread cast upon the waters” grounds.

The pastor of my parish, with a catch in his voice and tears in his eyes, told a story tonight at our ecumenical vigil. It seems that last year after the shootings at Virginia Tech, some of the Catholic students here at NIU got together and beaded or braided Rosaries in VT’s orange-and-black school colors, and sent them to their counterparts in Blacksburg. They didn’t think anything of it, but over the course of the last year, contacts have grown out of that reaching out. Little did we know that a year after we comforted them in their sorrow and grief and pain, they would be doing us the selfsame favor.

We here at NIU need the support of others. Most of that will naturally come from our extended community itself–fellow faculty members, staff members, students, and their families. But we’ll happily take whatever we can get from anyone who’s willing to offer it. Perhaps someday we’ll be called upon to return the favor, perhaps not. But I’d far and away rather live in a world where people reached out, even to the extent of saying something on a blog post or a website, than in one where they didn’t. The classic story about the little Chinese boy who asks his grandfather about the difference between heaven and hell seems apposite. The grandfather tells the boy that in both heaven and hell, the souls sit at huge tables absolutely groaning beneath the weight of a plethora of food–more than enough to satisfy the most ravenous glutton ten times over for each person. Of course, this upsets the little boy’s sense of fairness–heaven and hell are supposed to contain radically different sorts of people, so why should conditions in both be the same?

“Ah, my boy,” says the grandfather, “all the chopsticks are three feet long.” Which means that in hell, where everyone is absolutely full to repletion of him/herself, they sit starving in plain sight of the very thing they crave, but in heaven, they use the unwieldy chopsticks to feed one another and so no one ever goes hungry.

4 Bryan { 02.16.08 at 12:09 am }

In the South we offer food, because it is useful and relieves a worry from those who grieve. Everyone deals with it differently, but each must deal with it, because it doesn’t just dissipate like a fog, it remains.

I small bit of advice – talk about it with others as soon as you can because the recovery doesn’t start until you start talking. It’s a trauma, and needs to be treated.