Students are not to blame for recent gun violence

Whether tragedy strikes in a location across the country or a few blocks from campus, the root of gun control issues needs to be identified and remedied. The Editorial Board would like to clarify that as these issues exist in the DeKalb community, it is unfair and inaccurate to assume students somehow cause this violence.

On Oct. 1, the largest mass shooting in U.S history occurred in Las Vegas, Nevada. In light of this event, many politicians and public figures are using the incident as a platform to talk about gun violence and the need for stricter gun control regulations. Three instances of gun violence have been reported in DeKalb in the past two weeks.

Police responded to an off-campus call on Sunday when shots were fired. Despite neither individual being in any way affiliated with NIU, a stigma still surrounds the university as being a place that allows criminal activity to go unchecked.

DeKalb resident David Bell commented on our Facebook post about the shooting, saying, “We need to start raising the standards of who gets into this town.”

Craig Quinn responded to Bell’s comment saying, “More like raise the University admission standards. Low quality standards bring low quality students. Low quality friends of those students then start visiting the campus and surrounding areas.”

DeKalb Police Department officials investigated and responded to another off-campus shooting after shots were fired around 2 p.m. on Friday. Despite the shooting occurring outside the boundaries of NIU’s campus, some residents were quick to judge and took to social media to voice their concerns.

The millennial generation is getting a negative reputation when it comes to gun violence, and lately we have been feeling this very close to home.

“It’s very sad what NIU has become,” Bobby Parran wrote on Facebook on Oct. 7. “There are shootings and robberies every week. It’s a gangster’s paradise, overrun with thugs. I would not recommend my alma mater to anyone in the future.”

While we appreciate Parran and fellow citizens’ concerns for the safety of our community, NIU and its students aren’t to blame. The DeKalb Police Department reported 57 reports of shots fired in 2016, a 46 percent increase from 2014 and 2015’s reports, according to the 2016 Annual Report.

We reached out to the DeKalb Police Department for further statistical information, but they did not respond to our request for comment.

We recognize this is a community issue, but DeKalb is just that, a community. We don’t want NIU students to be painted in an unfair light.