A shooter opened fire in an Introductory Geology lecture classroom in Cole Hall this afternoon in DeKalb, Illinois at NIU leaving 6 others dead and 16 more wounded. The proximity of the shooting sends reverberations quickly and powerfully around the Chicagoland area. One of the victims was from my home town and a friend of my brother's. Dan Parmenter was a sophomore finance major who worked at the school newspaper, the Northern Star, and an innocent victim of an unforgivable crime. I know a handful of people studying at Northern Illinois and the crime is haunting. It seems that everyone will be affeced by what happened today. A good friend, Ben, who works at NIU's counseling center, was able to help students on campus understand and deal with the emergency. Thankfully, the rest of those I know are safe and home now with their families. Yet, the crime is callous, cold and cowardly. My prayers are sent out to the families and friends of those affected by this heinous crime.
The only bright side of this crisis was the resulting strength that the campus and community used to pull together through adversity and pain. Ben said that schools and centers from all over the area were calling his office to donate their services and help those struggling to cope. While the hatred and troubles we face have been stark and highlighted today, we can also see underlinings of good will and humanity.
On a side note: Doing what I do best, as I tend to smile my way through pain, I ponder the St. Valentine's Day design. I don't understand flowers for Valentine's Day. Now, maybe I'm bitter because I have no one to whom I can send dying flora, but I still can't see the point. 'Here, baby, my undying love for you is best represented by a bouquet of these finely cut and lacerated withering plants.' Now, I'm no botanist, but I'd say get her a desk calendar. It's February, they're 80% off. I guess I'm not a romantic either.
I suppose my dad put it best when he told us that he was debating on buying my mother a helium balloon from the dollar store today but realized he should spend his buck on a carton of Fritos Scoops for her instead. “Why waste a dollar on a balloon which can float away or deflate and become useless when you can fill your stomach with something delectable and useful?” He later commented. That's so shallow that it's actually deep Dad.
I guess my question in response would be, “Why do you feel that your wife of 28 years deserves such a wonderful $1.00 (plus tax) gift on this day of love?” Yet, we are left to contemplate why the more we waste on flowers reciprocates more love. At least I came up with a new pickup line today; "Hellow. I'm neither a botanist nor a romantic, but I sure am both prudent and frugal, would you like to buy me a drink?" I wonder if I'll be spending next Valentine's Day alone too...