Five Questions About University Shootings
By: Dennis Prager
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Question 1: Why are murderers always counted in the victims tally?
The day after the mass murder of students at Northern Illinois
University (NIU), the headline in the closest major newspaper, the
Chicago Tribune, was: "6 Dead in NIU Shooting."
"6 dead" included the murderer. Why wasn't the headline "5 killed at NIU"?
It is nothing less than moronic that the media routinely lump murderers and their victims in the same tally.
This is something entirely new. Until the morally confused
took over the universities and the news media, murderers were never
counted along with their victims. To give a military analogy, can one
imagine a headline like this in an American newspaper after the
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor: "2,464 Dead in Pearl Harbor Attack"?
After all, 55 Japanese airmen and nine Japanese crewmen also died in
One can only assume that this mode of reporting murders is
part of the larger movement toward non-judgmentalism and
egalitarianism. To many Americans in academia, the media, and
elsewhere, all the dead constitute a tragedy. Suggesting that some dead
are more important than other dead is forbidden.
At the San Francisco Zoo, after a young man was mauled to
death by a tiger that had escaped its confines, the administrators of
the zoo even lumped a killed animal with its human victim: the Zoo set
up a memorial to both the man and the tiger. And, unsurprisingly, given
the egalitarianism that now also lumps human beings with animals, the
tiger received more condolence messages than the human it killed.
Question 2: Which of these three options is more likely to
prevent further murderous rampages: a) making universities closed
campuses and increasing the police presence on campus (as the president
of NIU has promised to do); b) making guns much harder to obtain; or c)
enabling specially trained students and faculty to carry concealed
weapons on campus?
Because political correctness has replaced wisdom at nearly
all universities, colleges are considering options a and b. But the
only thing the first option will accomplish is to reduce the quality of
university life and render the campus a larger version of the
contemporary airport. And the second option will have no effect
whatsoever since whoever wishes to commit murder will be able to obtain
But if would-be murderers know that anywhere they go to
kill students, there is a real likelihood that one or two students will
shoot them first, and if in fact some would-be murderer is killed
before he can murder any, or at least many, students, we will see far
fewer such attempts made. Even though many of these murderers end up
killing themselves, they don't want to die until they have first
murdered as many students and teachers as possible.
Of course, there is virtually no chance that the uniformly
left-thinking individuals who run our universities will ever consider
this option. To do so would mean abandoning what is essentially a
religious-like conviction that guns are immoral rather than the people
who use them immorally.
Question 3: Why are "shooter" and "gunman" used instead of "killer" or "murderer"?
If a murderer used a knife to murder five students, no news
headlines would read, "Knifeman Kills Five." So why always "shooter"
The most obvious explanation is that by focusing on the
weapon used by the murderer, the media can further their anti-gun
Question 4: Why is "murder" never used to describe
homicides involved in these university massacres? And why is "murderer"
never used to describe these murderers? Why has "kill" become the only
word allowed for deliberate homicide?
Some will say that this is because "murder" is a legal
term, and until one is convicted of murder in a court of law, the word
should not be used.
I find this unpersuasive. If these murderers can be
described as having killed students, then they have in fact committed
murder. I believe the major reason for the death of the words "murder"
and "murderer" has to do, again, with an unwillingness to make moral
judgments, and "murderer" is far more judgmental than "shooter."
Question 5: Would the press note killers' religiosity if they were all Christian?
Imagine for a moment that all the mass murderers at our
universities were active Christians. Do you think that the press would
at the very least note this? Of course it would, and it would be right
to do so.
Yet, to the best of my knowledge, all the recent university
mass murderers were secular. Is this worth noting? And if not, why not?
Of course, the answer is that few, if any, in the mainstream media
would find such a thing worth noting and would likely bristle at its
mention. To nearly everyone in the media, the secularism of all the
murderers is a non-sequitur. But if they were all active Christians,
the same media people would hardly view that fact as insignificant and
The fact is that nearly everyone in the mainstream media is
secular and therefore cannot imagine associating secularism with
anything negative. Secularism is presumed to be all good. But in truth,
secularism, a blessing in government, is not a blessing in the lives of
most individuals. Now, one can no more blame these college murders on
secularism than one could blame Christianity if all the murderers were
Christian. But in neither case would it be insignificant.
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