February 20, 2008
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As a near-college-graduate, I've been in school for more than 17 years. I'm glad that I'll be graduating in May, but not for the reasons you might suspect. Yes, I'm ready to give up my late-night, Redbull-fueled study sessions and pizza deliveries at equally strange hours. However, I've recently become increasingly concerned with safety on campuses around the country.

To be clear, I'm not some paranoid crazy that allows fear to rule my life. However, last week was certainly one of tragedy around the country, despite the Valentine's Day holiday.

Last week, a 14-year-old shot and killed a classmate in Oxnard, California. Prosecutors charged him with attempted murder and said that it was a hate crime, as the victim would often come to school dressed in "feminine" attire and said he was gay.

A gunman then opened fire on a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University on Thursday. He killed six people, including himself, and wounded 16 others. Authorities on campus reacted quickly, having learned from the Virginia Tech massacre in April. The shooting occurred around 3 p.m., and, wrote:

At 3:03 p.m. CT, university police responded, and four minutes later, the campus was ordered into "a lockdown situation," said Grady, the police chief.

At 3:20, an all-campus alert went out via the school Web site, e-mail, voice mail, the campus crisis hotline, the news media and alarm systems, he said.

"The message basically was: There's a gunman on campus, stay where you are; make yourself as safe as possible," he said.


By 4 p.m., DeKalb police had swept the area "and determined there was only one gunman" and that he was dead.

"It was absolutely a marvelous response" by campus safety authorities, Grady said.

It's appalling that these incidents keep occurring, yet is there anything else that could've been done to stop this? Do you think the media play into it at all? Do you think some people out there love getting those 15 minutes of fame THAT MUCH? Please comment below.

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