All six victims of Feb. 14 shootings were victims


There were six victims in the Feb. 14 shootings.

I realize how people can feel anger and hate toward Steven Kazmierczak. He added our school to the list of shootings that will forever change us.

Of course, some students do not feel this way.

“Kazmierczak wasn’t a victim,” nursing junior Jennifer Gross said. “He was getting help and he had a choice to keep taking his medications and he stopped.”

It is difficult for me to completely brush him off the list of victims and never realize that he suffered. Of course Kazmierczak caused the shooting and the death of five innocent people, but he was a victim of mental illness and was missing an important part of feeling human: compassion.

Overall, apathy and selfishness of people over the years can passively contribute to feelings of insecurity and unimportance, which leads so many people into mental illness.

I’m not endorsing what Kazmierczak or any other school shooter did, but the fact of the matter is that there is a reason these students continue to kill innocent people.

The two shooters of Columbine High School were picked on and felt isolated from everyone else, and they felt they could only retaliate through killing.

I don’t know what went through Kazmierczak’s head when he went to Cole Hall that day, but I know he was so gripped by an emotional instability, just like all the other shooters, that he could not think of anything rational to do.

“Sometimes a school shooter is a victim, but not him,” said Bill Paetzold, a history and Spanish double major. “He could be a victim of people ignoring him or mis-medicating, but he made a conscious decision to do it.”

Mankind at heart is not violent toward each other, but mental illness can cause these types of events to occur. Sometimes the mental illness is latent, but sometimes it could be a gradual illness.

The whole situation doesn’t improve when people are faced with an illness and are given a pill. In a sense, Kazmierczak was a victim of a society that simply throws pills at a problem instead of getting to the root of it.

We have to embrace our fellow Huskies as we all struggle to make the final grade and continue our education. We should make every person feel welcome wherever we are, even if it is off campus.

What most of these school shooters have needed was simple compassion, and what they felt they got was indifference. There were six victims – five victims that died unnecessarily on Feb. 14, and one who was a victim before any of this took place.

I know it’s hard to forgive, and forgiveness may be too late for some people, but we can’t keep carrying on as we are now. Change is inevitable, and it starts with us.