Staff Editorial: Campus Shootings

Gunfire broke out in the Electrical Engineering Building on Purdue University’s campus on Jan. 21. The gunman killed one person and was taken into police custody only minutes later.

The shooting at Purdue is the latest in a sprawling national trend that, seemingly, no one can address effectively.

Unfortunately, this news doesn’t surprise us. School shootings, once a startling tragedy, have become commonplace in the United States. Even two years ago, most of us would have struggled to name more than a few. Now, all of us can probably list off more than five, and easily at that. The New York Times hit the nail on the head last week with a simple headline: “In Age of School Shootings, Lockdown Is the New Fire Drill.”

It is unsettling at best to see so little reaction over such violence. We live in a dangerous age, in which the media treats a campus shooting as if it were business as usual. It seems there is no feasible solution for such a trend. There wasn’t enough political willpower to move Congress to act on gun control. American healthcare has seen little improvement since the Affordable Care Act and certainly seems ill-equipped to manage a greater quantity or quality of psychological or psychiatric care.

Our thoughts are with Purdue students this week. We have to ask, though: if so many small tragedies cannot change the conditions that lead to campus shootings, how big will the tragedy have to be in order to actually instigate serious reform?