Tragedy at Northern Illinois University

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Feb 15, 2008 Tragedy at Northern Illinois University

Yesterday’s tragic shooting at Northern Illinois University has been widely covered in the news. My initial inclination was to limit this blog entry to express my horror over yesterday’s violence and to express my sympathy to the shooting victims and their loved ones.

However, as with the Virginia Tech tragedy, expecting that this incident will be used for many people to advocate tighter security at academic institutions and tighter gun control, I offer these brief thoughts:

– The shooter apparently is dead. Therefore, this is the time to slow the train to judgment and action. There is time for the tragedy to be investigated, and hopefully the investigation will be skillful, professional, accurate, and without bias.

– All human life is sacred, and we must act accordingly whether a tragedy victim is caught up in a mass murder or in an event that does not reach the headlines.

– The American criminal justice system is overcriminalized. The most powerful way to reduce violence in society is for each person to reach out to others in need. Otherwise, rampant violence will continue, and convicting and jailing people for violent crimes will just be a band-aid that barely covers the wound, and that does little to prevent new wounds.

Jon Katz.

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