By Thomas J. Humphrey
This Commentary is Unpublished
On 14 February 2008, while most people planned their Valentine Day’s celebration, a former student of Northern Illinois University dressed in black, walked into the university’s Cole Hall, stepped onto a stage, and fired into a lecture hall filled with students getting ready to leave class. Inside the classroom, panic struck hard at the students as the students scrambled for safety, some crawling up the aisles while others hid beneath their chairs. Others waited to run until the gunman stopped shooting. He was reloading. Outside the classroom, faculty, students, and visitors walked by Cole Hall, heard the popping of gunfire, and recoiled as students burst through the doors of the building, some of whom were spattered with blood. Some helped wounded students, others helped student find cover, and many called police. The entire incident erupted and ended in just a few minutes. Six students were murdered that day before the killer took his own life. Eighteen others were wounded.
The shooting at NIU was horrific but, sadly, hardly unique...
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Thomas J. Humphrey is an Associate Professor of American History at Cleveland State University, and received his Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University.