When Gun Violence Hits Your Neighborhood

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

As I'm sure many of you have heard by now, there was a shooting at Purdue University yesterday.

School shootings in general are terrifying, but this one literally hit close to home. It took place about a mile and a half from I live, and only a couple of miles from where I work. The people I nanny for both work at Purdue, my friend Christy works at Purdue, my co-teacher's husband works at Purdue, several of my students (both past and present) have a parent who works at Purdue or attends Purdue as an engineering student.

Thankfully (and I mean that in the loosest manner possible, because there's certainly nothing to be thankful for when there's a shooting like this, and I don't want to cheapen the Boldt family's loss at all), the shooter was apparently after a specific target, and the situation didn't escalate to the level that it could have.

Nobody is quite sure why he shot Andrew Boldt. They were both engineering students, and they were both TAs for the same professor (though for different sections), but no motive has been released yet.

Earlier today, there were reports of a shooting at the University of Oklahoma, which thankfully (and I do mean thankfully to the full extent of the word) was a false alarm.

This is just the most recent in an unnerving pattern of shootings in recent years. Rachel Maddow did an eye-opening (and disturbing) segment on shootings after the Navy Yard shootings last year.

What everyone always wants to know is why? How can these tragedies be prevented?

Is this a mental health issue? Maybe. Even if it's not, though, mental health care in this country seriously needs an overhaul. Care needs to be me made more readily available, and we need to actually talk about mental health problems. There's a huge stigma attached to mental health in this country, and it makes people hesitant to seek help or discuss what they're going through.

Is it a gun control issue? Maybe. Admittedly, I don't get political here too often, but I do think that gun control could be a little stricter. I don't think machine guns (which the Purdue shooter reportedly had) have a place among civilians, and I think that they should require everyone to take a gun safety course and practice shooting before they are able to purchase a gun.

Is it something else entirely? Maybe. All I know is that something needs to be done to keep senseless tragedies like this from happening. School shootings and mass shootings (and yes, this one wasn't a mass shooting, but it easily could have been) have been far too commonplace in my lifetime, and it makes me very uncomfortable. It makes me nervous for the kids I don't even have yet (I've been seriously considering homeschooling since I was still in school). I don't want my children to grow up in a world where school shootings are the norm.

If you pray, please pray for the family and friends of Andrew Boldt, as well as the Purdue community. They need your prayers. But I also encourage you to pray for the shooter; it may sound odd, but I figure you have to hit a pretty low place and be going through some awfully difficult things if you can bring yourself to take a life, especially in such a violent manner.

I'm not really sure exactly what the point of this was. Maybe it just sounds like a bunch of ramblings. Maybe I just needed to vent about my feelings after what happened, and maybe that's a bit selfish, tactless, or self-centered of me. I just wish I could make sense of all this.

I may be a Hoosier at heart, but I will stand with and support the Boilermakers to the end.

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  1. As you say, sometimes these things hit closer to home than others. A fellow Hoosier, now on the West Coast, I have a nephew at Purdue. I heard the news reports and panicked, then saw the victim was a teaching assistant and had that "thankful" moment before I realized that other folks were NOT getting that relief. Horrible situation. I understand the Second Amendment but I don't understand private ownership of automatic weapons and things like background checks, gun safety training, insurance, etc being required.

    1. I completely agree. These situations bring up so many emotions.



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