Yesterday, Stephen Kazmierczak, a master’s in social work student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a former sociology graduate student of Northern Illinois University, entered a lecture hall during a geology class and opened fire. Kazmierczak shot 21 people, killing 5, and wounding 7 critically. Afterwards, Kazmierczak turned the gun on himself and ended his 27 year life: The definition of a tragedy.
I may have more comments in the next few days but for now I believe it is proper to express several prayers to offer in the midst of the occurrences.
- I pray that Kazmierczak’s father, who is immensely struggling, can find peace and condolence. Although his son took the lives of others, his son also lost his on life. This, regardless of the circumstances is heavy on the heart of a father. This heaviness compounded with the sense of guilt he may have knowing that his son, his flesh and blood took the lives of others and has caused much grievance on the part of not only the families and friends directly involved, but everyone who hears this story. May God send peace to this father. May he be surrounded by those who will show him compassion love and condolence.
I also pray for Kazmierczak’s sister, who has not spoken on camera. I pray that she does not feel isolated. I pray that God allows her to find peace and refuge in him.
- I pray for the victims and their families and friends. For those who lost their lives in this tragedy I pray that God will give their families and friends a sense of understanding and strength. I pray that they will have the fellowships and relationships that the need in this juncture. And I pray that at some point, even in years from now they are given the ability to forgive. It is perhaps the biggest hindrance to redemption and health when we, in our humanness choose to stay attached to pain and begrudged towards those who have pained us.
And for those who are injured, as well as their families and friends, I pray that they realize this same understanding and strength I pray upon those who have lost a loved one. I pray that they rejoiced in the they fact that life has not been taken from that and that in that rejoicing they may realize those things that are most valuable in life. In addition I pray that they can rely on one another and be support for those who were less fortunate than them
- I pray for Kazmierczak’s girlfriend/roommate. I can’t imagine the thoughts, worries and perhaps guilt running through her mind. I pray that she can find a source of comfort and trust those that are close to her.
- I pray for NIU, UIUC and for colleges and universities around the nation. This incident is perhaps most frightening because it can occur anywhere. Even when all laws are followed, all checks are apparently in place on cannot always predict what will occur, or the seriousness of any incident. I pray that NIU and UIUC students, administration and faculty can bond together and support one another as both campuses deal with the seriousness and proximity of these events.
I pray that colleges and universities realize that events such as there are serious threats, but that in that realization that there is no need to become paranoid. In this life tragedy is apart of existence, to counter act it one must not live in fear, but understand how to overcome tragedy; Honoring those effected, yet conquering the fears that so easily plaque our minds.