Does anyone remember NIU?

Does anyone remember NIU?

It was ten years ago this week that a gunman stormed Northern Illinois University in DeKalb and killed five people before the shooter took the coward’s way out. Those killed in the shooting were Catalina Garcia, Ryanne Mace, Julianna Gehant, Gayle Dubowski and Dan Parmenter. The cowardly shooter, Stephen Kazmierczak, was nothing more than a Columbine and Virginia Tech wanna-be and copycat.

Ten years on, the larger part of America probably has no memory of the loss of life at NIU. At the time, NIU was one of the deadliest school shootings on record, but has since fallen out of the public conscience. Since then we’ve had tragedies like those at Sandy Hook, among others, that have made us forget school shootings that didn’t have body counts in the double digits.

The term ‘never forget’ gets thrown around so much these days it’s almost used in an ironic sense, but we should never forget the lives lost in any of our college campuses or school grounds. We should be constantly horrified by the violence that has claimed so many promising lives in order to work toward preventing future tragedies.

Mom of NIU victim says no C&C on campuses

niu
Ok, if you won’t listen to me about conceal and carry on college campuses (holy alteration Batman) will you listen to Mary Kay Mace? Who is she you ask? She is the mother of 19-year-old Ryanne Mace who was killed by Stephen Kazmierczak when he opened fire on Northern Illinois University in 2008.

In this piece from the Chicago Sun Times Ms. Mace discusses why she thinks C&C on campus is not the answer.

“I get offended when people say that. It’s like blaming the victim. If only she had a gun . . . or if she had outrun the bullets.” 

“To me, it’s crazy to have everybody carrying concealed,” Mace said. 

“I understand that there’s evil out there in the world. Nobody understands better than I do,” she said. “I understand wanting a gun for personal protection. I just don’t think that it works.”

Ms. Mace is more concerned with preventing people from mental issues like Kazmierczak from obtaining guns before we worry about allowing concealed guns on campus.

And again I think having C&C on college campuses would lead to more gun violence just with legally concealed weapons.

Kazmierczak was a sick mutant

Magazine reveals new details about NIU shooter:

Talk about dropping the other shoe. For months we heard nothing about NIU gunman Stephen Kazmierczak or what his motive was. Now Esquire magazine is saying something that should not surprise me in the least but yet it does.

I originally thought that Kazmierczak was just a victim of an undiagnosed mental problem but as it turns out he was something much more familiar.

According to Esquire Magazine while Kazmierczak did suffer from mental illness it also turns out that he was nothing more than a copycat of Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung-Hui.

The story includes Kazmierczak’s fascination, chilling in retrospect, with Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech student who shot and killed 32 people before killing himself in April 2007.

“He was interested in what was going on in the mind of Cho, and why it was so successful, and how someone could do it, how they could pull it off,”‘ reporter David Vann writes, quoting a friend he identifies only as Kevin.

And his mental health history wasn’t exactly unknown either. Kazmierczak was drummed out of the Army after they discovered that he lied on his application about mental history. He held back about his history of suicide attempts, psychotic episodes, and hallucinations.

Just further proof that as a society we’re more concerned with the rights of the dangerously crazy than we are with the welfare of others.

NIU may get task force

NIU Shooting Investigation:

This is a really short article so here it goes…

There are new calls for a task force to be created at NIU to study the school’s response to the shootings on campus. The head of NIU’s Board of Trustees say’s she’ll be asking the school’s president to create the task force later this week. She also thinks the board needs to discuss whether an extensive review of the psychiatric history of gunman, Steven Kazmierczak is worthwhile.

Personally I think that would be a waste of time and money. A lot of people try to make the comparison between NIU and Virginia Tech. There is no comparison here except that lives were lost on a college campus. At NIU the school did the best job that it could have. Police were at the scene in under a minute if I remember correctly. There’s not a whole lot that could have been done at NIU. Stephen Kazmierczak didn’t even attend NIU anymore so it’s not like he could have tipped off anyone there to his behavior. How could anyone have known what he was planning?

So save the taxpayers some money or use the money for the school’s mental health assistance program.

Sometimes there just aren’t any answers.

NIU gunman's autopsy

NIU gunman’s autopsy shows some antidepressant, cold medicine in his system, police say:

The autopsy of NIU gunman Stephen Kazmierczak showed that the only drugs in his system were trace amounts of an anti-depressant, a cold medicine, and nicotine.

Well, that blows my Ambien theory to hell.

Now the question is will the anti-pharmaceutical Luddites blame this on the anti-depressant, the lack thereof, or the cold medicine?

Don’t be surprised if we here from the anti-smoking brigade either.

UPDATE: It wasn’t an anti-depressant at all that was found in his system. It was the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.

NIU shooter was on Ambien

Girlfriend: Shooter was taking cocktail of 3 drugs:

Remember when I said that Stephen Kazmierczak meds had nothing to do with the shooting? I stand corrected…sort of.

It turns out that Kazmierczak was on three drugs, Prozac, Xanax, and Ambien. Prozac is an anti-depressant which as I stated before should have still been in his system at the time that he stopped taking it. Xanax is an anti-anxiety drug kind of like Valium. I’ve been prescribed Xanax before. After taking one of those the only thing I wanted to do was sleep so I don’t think it was the Xanax. Ambien is a drug that is supposed to help you sleep. In a lot of cases it does the exact opposite at best.

A few years ago there was a member of my family who was prescribed Ambien for sleep. Whenever they took an Ambien to try to sleep they would end up being up for hours in a stupor like state. It got to the point where I didn’t want to be around them when they were on Ambien and I was worried for their own safety. Luckily when I expressed my concerns they realized what Ambien was doing to them and stopped taking it. In my personal opinion I think Ambien is a danger and should be taken off the market.

There have been instances where people arrested for car accidents have claimed that they were on Ambien and didn’t even remember that they were driving. Can I draw the conclusion that Ambien caused Kazmierczak to on his killing spree? Logically, no. Only by anecdotal evidence would I try to make that conclusion. However I don’t think it should be ruled out.

NIU shooting and the media

Northern Illinois shooting goes unnoticed:

This is an op-ed piece from the San Jose State student newspaper about how the national media has treated the NIU shooting and how it’s basically ignored the story since it happened.

People reacted in horror when Seung-Hui Cho attacked Virginia Tech University last April, and grief gripped the nation for several days. Compare that with Thursday, when people didn’t even bat an eye when Steven Kazmierczak committed a similar crime at Northern Illinois University. It felt like a bad horror movie we had seen before.

Some took note, a few grieved and a lot just didn’t notice.

Only five days after the event, the NIU shooting and the issues surrounding it were less significant to CNN than satellites being shot down and Bill Clinton picking on a heckler. By contrast, the shooting at Virginia Tech filled our media’s consciousness for at least a week.

I hate to say it but the truth hurts sometimes. Ever since Columbine it’s been all about body count as far as the media is concerned. At Columbine 13 were killed. At Virginia Tech 32 were killed. At NIU just 5 were killed. I think it also had something to do with the fact that as far as we know so far Stephen Kazmierczak wasn’t an attention seeking douchebag like Cho, Harris, and Klebold. Go down the list of categories on my site and tell me how many of the shootings you’ve heard of.

This is where I like to think that this is where this site serves its purpose. When one of these incidents unfortunately happens I post about it from start to finish.

NIU gunman covered his tracks

Gunman Hid His Tracks, Officials Say:

It seems that The Times is on a roll lately.

Anyway this is an article about how NIU gunman Stephen Kazmierczak covered his tracks prior to the shooting.

The hard drive from his computer and the SIM card from his cell phone are both missing. I think this lends credence to my theory about Kazmierczak possibly being a paranoid schizophrenic.

This wasn’t the typical school shooting either because as of yet there’s no evidence that Kazmierczak craved any kind of attention like that of Cho Seung-Hui or Kimveer Gill.

I think this is just a tragic incident of an undiagnosed mental illness.

Meds played little to no role in NIU shooting

Reports of Gunman’s Use of Antidepressant Renew Debate Over Side Effects:

This is a great article from the NY Times (which is rare) about what kind of role antidepressants played at the NIU tragedy.

In a word they probably played no role whatsoever.

Kazmierczak was on Prozac and was off of it for three days prior to the shooting. According to the article Prozac doesn’t leave your system in that time.

Now the anti-depressant Luddites will still use this as an argument because they can’t make up their minds if being on or off antidepressants cause situations like this.

Most medical professionals quoted in the article say that when patients on antidepressants have violent outbursts like this it usually indicates another underlying problem.

And I’m sure they’ll also ignore this quote.

Dr. Michael Stone, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia, maintains a database of 1,000 violent crimes, including mass murders, going back decades. In many cases the accused had stopped taking drugs for schizophrenia, Dr. Stone said.

“I only have a handful of cases,” he added, “where the person was on an antidepressant.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if Kazmierczak had undiagnosed schizophrenia.

Personally I couldn’t laud the benefits of antidepressants enough. Being on one has literally saved my life.