essay, Guns

NIU ’08: My Experience With Gun Violence


I have been a life long opponent of gun culture in general & open carry/unlimited access in particular. I have studied the issue for years but one thing that cemented my hatred of guns, though, on a personal level was my experience as a student at Northern Illinois University in ’08. I lived at Neptune East Dorm, which was about 100 yards from Cole Hall, where most of the big general science classes were held on campus. I had a GEO 101 class that got out @ 2pm. I walked back to my dorm. I remember looking out my window of my dorm & seeing an armed SWAT guy and I also remember that I saw my own dorm window on my TV, live and broadcast from a helicopter camera. I ran out into the lobby just as people started streaming into the dorm. They were panicked and some had blood on them. The dorm went into lock down and I found out later that the shooting had happened at 3:05, only about an hour after my class ended. I am autistic so my feelings can be hard for me to express and to understand.

I felt numb over it for weeks but I sort of convinced myself that it had not bothered me at all but I think it sent my depression into overdrive, in an indirect way (or maybe direct? At the time I didn’t see it that way but in retrospect I can see that was probably very naive of me) & I left school soon after. It had been a while in coming, and many other things went into my decision to leave school, but I think the shooting may have made me feel unsafe. I had thoughts of being shot in my class, but didn’t talk about it because I felt I didn’t have right to feel traumatized as I wasn’t hurt and didn’t know anyone who had died very well. I also probably had a bit of PTSD-ish sort of feelings. I don’t talk about that time in my life very much anymore, but it confirmed my belief that any gun designed only to kill or maim a human being is an evil tool that has no place in a civilized society, especially not in schools.

Cole Hall was a packed auditorium classroom & I can’t IMAGINE how much worse it would have been had some open carry people decided to fire back. we can’t control the actions of people who want to do harm w/ a gun but we can make sure that guns are not readily available in public folks who are scared & filled w/ adrenaline are NOT people you want firing back at assailant. No gun class or gun range prepares someone for that sort of situation. A “good guy” w/ a gun in Cole Hall would have led to more death/chaos. SWAT is trained to be calm under pressure, especially not  Mr. Weekend Warrior who thinks his 9mm can protect everyone around him. A “good guy” w/ a gun in Cole Hall would have led to more death/chaos. A SWAT Officer is trained to be calm under pressure. Mr. Weekend Warrior is not. The NRA is wrong & only wants to sell guns to enrich its clients in the Gun and Ammunition industries. One should never have to worry if a firefight will break out during a shooting, if the guy next to you will hit you or those you care for out of some surge of macho entitlement or a misguided savior complex. A gun doesn’t make you a superhero, it doesn’t make you more responsible for the safety of others and It certainly doesn’t make you a “good guy”. So when people tell me I don’t know what I am talking about regarding guns and that I should be quiet I respond by saying: I do the research, I pay attention & I lived through a shooting.


2 thoughts on “NIU ’08: My Experience With Gun Violence

  1. I hope you are an opponent to judicial corruption. Judicial judges are taking homes, ignoring petitions, not giving decisions on cases, stealing and selling children. Economy is so bad that news media/people are afraid to speakup due to iving under this judicial tyranny. After guns are taken Jade-Helm is initiated by judicial and corrupt government.

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