Heartbreaking atrocities leave us barren

Shock and disbelief overwhelm me and likely you too – and at this point I’m extremely glad I’m not going to work tomorrow. While I plan to finally secure my state residency and volunteer a bit, I almost want to take the day just to recover from all the emotional pangs that paralyze me when I think of the the shootings that occurred today at NIU. The past few weeks, with abundant murders crippling Illinois, have especially gnawed at me, and presumptuously plenty more. Illinois, already reeling from the recent Tinley Park Lane Bryant slayings, and being dealt one of the worst winters in close to a decade, now finds itself as the setting of a beyond tragic massacre. Six dead, and a campus shattered by fear and disillusionment.

While I’m glad to be in Seattle, especially with my home state bereft and broken by such heartless acts, on the same token I wish I was there to absorb some of the endless pain that the area and its residents are sinking in and can’t stymie, not that the tragedy is not being mourned across the country. In fact, the campus photographs after the UW shooting and last year’s VT massacre still haunt me to this day and likely will continue to do so. Seeing them splashed continuously across the media didn’t help either, and I vividly recall feeling terribly distraught and sick to my stomach after viewing them.

In light of these sorts of utterly mortifying, abasing situations, sometimes I wonder if or how anyone present peels their pierced souls off the proverbially ground. Do the survivors who witness or are in the vicinity of these monstrosities ever emotionally recover? I wouldn’t. I mean, do we ever really know the depth of emotional repercussions this type of atrocity produces? Not unless we are in their skin. How will they ever push the pain of this fateful day out of their heads? It is just so pertrifying to me how prevalent these mass murders are becoming; I’m so disturbed by all of this that I’m almost starting to convince myself that 50 percent of this world is mentally ill.

dreamstime 4012960 1 2 3Although I am a part-time graduate student in Seattle at SU, I worry more about my younger brother, who attends college at an NIU rival school in a more rural part of the state. As a former Illinoisian, I also did my undergrad work at a state school, Eastern Illinois University (was a classmate of Tony Romo’s), and as a member of the student newspaper there, was quite friendly with several Northern Star (NIU’s student newspaper) students, whom I would frequently see at newspaper conferences.

This whole melancholy day, along with the recent killings at Lane Bryant, just break my heart. Quite the irony considering the holiday. I just hope somehow there are golden blue skies ahead – for NIU, Illinois and the U.S.

16 thoughts on “Heartbreaking atrocities leave us barren

  1. Karen, our prayers are definitely with those up north whose hearts must be SO heavy tonight. (We also pray that the media stop calling them the “Valentine Murders”- how tacky.)

    It sounds like you have a deep history with that area so we also pray for *your* heart to find peace and calm.

    What tragedies- I ache with you for these people!

  2. I can’t imagine what it would be like as a parent to receive a phone call like some of these parents received. The sort of grief is beyond my ability to comprehend. Truly heartbreaking. How is your brother doing, Karen?

  3. Lani,
    I agree that is really tacky and terrible they are calling this the valentine murders.

    I just thought with all the tragedies lately in IL I should write about how I am not impervious to the tragedies rampant there lately.

    Yes, everyone there is in my prayers too.thank you for your concern, I’m doing ok, just feel bad about it all.

  4. Jillayne,
    My brother is doing well, I think this sort of thing does bring him out of the bubble he finds himself in like most as a resident on a rural college campus.

    What a sad situation, we are all in unison on that.

    But am grateful not to be dealing with that winter!

  5. Karen–it’s hard when something like this happens to a place where you feel a connection. I am a VT alum, and I was totally floored by what happened there last spring. It is shock on two levels–one is that it’s hard to believe such a terrible thing can happen in a place where we have fond, happy memories (as well as relationships with people who could have been affected). And the other level is it’s hard to be so far away because you feel there is nothing you can do and no way to help.

    I know with the VT killings our alumni association was quick to put together a fundraiser, and we kept them in our prayers of course. I’m sure that NIU will do something similar. I’m not the most religious person around, but I do believe prayers/positive thoughts help.

  6. Karen, now that you have been in the Seattle area for about a year, I was just wondering do you have any regrets about moving so far away from the place where you grew up, or do your new experiences make up for any loss you may be experiencing. Thanks for your response.

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