I don’t like this idea of college shootings becoming commonplace. I think there have been three or four major college shootings since the Virginia Tech incident.
Steve Kazmierczak, an alumnus of Northern Illinois University, went ballistic shooting up a geology class and killed five students before killing himself. The AP article sums up Kazmierczak’s demeanor:
Unlike Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung-Hui — a sullen misfit who could barely look anyone in the eye, much less carry on a conversation — Kazmierczak appeared to fit in just fine.
The AP article cites that he "stopped taking [his] medication." It appears that he had no record of mental illness at all. He applied for and legally obtained a gun after a background check.
The issue of mental illness in these school shootings is constantly brought up. While I don’t dismiss the unstable mental health of Cho or Kazmierczak, I can’t help but wonder what this means for the rest of us who struggle with mental illness. If I tell someone that I have bipolar disorder, does that mean I’m likely to commit homicide and suicide despite the fact that I have a bubbly, outgoing, and talkative personality?
The link between mental illness and these school shootings will only continue to fuel the stigma relating to mental illness. Despite the fact that the majority of people who suffer from mental health problems are nonviolent, the minority who are violent will get the press coverage and become poster evidence for people like the TAC.