Friday, February 11, 2011


This weekend's performances of HAMLET are dedicated to the memories of those who lost their lives in the Northern Illinois Shootings, Feb 14th, 2008.

The following is an essay written by Managing Director David Sweeney (NIU Class of '07) in the wake of the shootings.

I've spent the last 24 or so hours trying to make sense of the NIU shooting. For four years I lived and studied in Dekalb, IL. It was my home and also the incubator in which I reached my adulthood. I will never be able to seperate my identity from Northern, nor would I ever want to.
I feel like a member of my family has been attacked, like my childhood home has been razed to the ground, like a stranger spit upon me for reasons I will never understand. His attack was in a building that belongs to no particular major or program. Cole Hall is a lecture hall for Humanity and General Education courses. It is literally the place where the University teaches students how to be better human beings. The stage from which he attacked is one I've acted upon, it's also the stage where a matronly and beautiful woman taught me the history and mythology of the ancient world.
It will be impossible to see Northern, and thus myself, through a lens that isn't smeared with this senseless violence. NIU was originally founded to teach the art of teaching. Over its long history it has become a beacon for country kids from tiny schools and urban teens in over-crowded classrooms: a beacon of the light of learning. NIU is the place where we learned that the world is bigger than we ever could have imagined. I love my school like one loves an eccentric Uncle who slips a little bourbon into your iced tea when you're in High School, like an indulgent Grandparent who's wisdom isn't fully understood until you enter adulthood.
The alumni network was in full force last night. We called each-other and soothed our aching psyches long distance. I know that the way I feel is shared by many intelligent and caring people.
Dave Sweeney Class of '07

No comments:

Post a Comment