My thoughts after today's school shooting at Purdue, my alma mater

Today, as I have been in the comfort of my home thousands of miles away from my Alma mater,
my heart has been with my Purdue family.
Today there was a school shooting on the campus of a college that I love.
There aren't many details but because of social media, a sorority sister who works on campus updated her status literally minutes after the shooting began.
There was one fatality and one person has been taken into custody.

I was quickly reminded of a time in 1996 when I was a freshman at Purdue.
I was in my dorm room after a long morning of classes.
My attention was drawn out my 8th floor window to armed SWAT team on top of the nearby dorm and co-rec building.  A freshman student was turned in by his grad student RA for drug possession and quickly sought revenge in what became a murder/suicide.

There was no social media.
No live updates through twitter, 
only rumors and thoughts spread by campus co-ed's walking past the dorm on their way home from class.
Students talked of hostages but the reality was, this 18 year old shot his RA then went directly to his own room where he took his own life.

It took hours for the area to be secured.
Boys were finally allowed to re-enter their dorm rooms after complete lock down for hours.
I had recently started studying with a guy in my math class who happened to live in that particular dorm.
He had given me a good number to contact him at a few days prior in case I wanted to study that evening.
I dug up that number and called it to check in on him.
The number he had given me, was the number of the killer.

It was shocking for me to hear the recently named killers voice on his voice mail.
This 18 year old guy who days before was just another co-ed.
A friend of a friend.

Classes resumed like normal.
Campus went unchanged.
Fast forward nearly 20 years later and the news of a school shooting on campus, my campus, made these memories of this shooting my freshman year flood back.

Purdue will be changed this time.
It's inevitable.
Life as we know it has changed.
This shooting may make high school seniors think twice about the fresh ink on their acceptance letters.
It may make parents rule out the possibility of looking at a school like Purdue because it's been tainted.
It shouldn't.
Purdue seemed as prepared as they could be for a school shooting.
Students received texts minutes after the shooting started alerting them to lock down and seek shelter.
Officers were on the scene in minutes.
Out of respect for the victim and for the boilermaker community, classes were canceled, and a candlelight vigil is scheduled.
Counseling is being offered for those affected.
I'm sure there are things that the school could work on and improve, 
but we should hope and pray there isn't a next time for their improvements to be used on.
Purdue has my heart and holds so many fond memories.
While my mind continues to be drawn back to the events of the school shooting that I experienced, 
I will do my best to focus on the memories of the friendships and good times that were had while on campus.
I'm praying for the families and students affected.
It's never an easy day.
Ever Faithful
Ever True
Thus We Raise Our Song Anew

1 comment

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