Thursday, September 25, 2003

A Tragedy in Rocori

Just about everyone who lives in the St. Cloud area, and even Minnesota for that matter, know about the school shooting that happened in Cold Spring yesterday. Actually most of the country knows since it made its way on to CNN here. So what is there to say? One dead, one injured, and the student who performed the deed is in custody after a coach talked him out of the gun. That’s the facts, but the ramifications here in the St. Cloud area could be huge.

I was hoping that this, my final semester of school, would go without scandal or tragedy, unlike most of my previous four years here. There was Josh’s disappearance last year, the summer before two students died in Lake Sag on campus, and the sexual scandals involving the SJU monks. It’s been crazy, but I thought maybe we’d used up all of our bad karma for a while. I guess I was wrong.

What makes this shooting, more so than any of the previous school shootings in the US, scarier for me is the proximity to SJU where I live. Cold Spring is right down the road from us. I work at the high school here at St. John’s and all this morning I have been finding myself wondering what I would have done, or what the students and teachers would have done, if the student had gone to school here. I have such a hard time imagining any of the students that I supervise here bringing a gun into school and starting to shoot his or her classmates, but that’s exactly what happened right down the road.

This shooting hasn’t seemed to have much of an effect upon the kids here at the prep school, which is probably good. I would rather it be forgotten instead of publicized. Whenever a horrific deed, such as this one, is plastered all over the news I always fear that some kid seeing that will want to go and do the same thing. If that kid on tv can go and shoot the people he doesn’t like, then why can’t I? That’s simply a thought I don’t want entering any kid’s mind.

Since this also happened in a small, country school, I also think back to my high school where my little brother, Ryan, still goes. What would have happened if something like this would have occurred there? I really don’t want to think about it, but when a tragedy happens in close proximity to you it is much harder to detach yourself from the situation and say that it could never happen near you—because it did happen near you! Heck, Kristin taught religion class at Rocori, the high school this happened at. She taught some of the students there.

I think I’ve probably talked this subject over enough, but it simply is hard to believe that this happened so close. It’s sad that it had to happen, but I am very thankful that it didn’t happen here.

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