Friday, February 15, 2008

Tragedy at Northern Illinois University

My 101QFL co-host, Darren Marlar, and I pretty much ditched our regular generally humorous and upbeat show today to respond to the tragedy at NIU. We opened up the phone lines and just let our listeners call with their stories, their condolences, their prayers and support for the victims and their families. It ended up being an enormous outpouring of love and concern.

Danielle is an NIU employee who called us and asked for prayer:

Besides the phone calls that lit up our board, we got an outpouring of e-mails as well. Here's a sampling:

--"I wanted to email you and share with you that my oldest daughter, Angela, who is a senior student at NIU, was just a few buildings away (in Stevenson Towers). She was working at the food service area in that residence hall at the time of the shootings. For quite some time we couldn't reach her or her fiance, but thankfully she called and said that they were all right.
The time we spent not knowing of their safety was the hardest thing to go through.... Hopefully, they will be safe and sound and home with us today for the weekend."

--"It is such a blessing to wake up to a positive radio station that is giving support to the community *I* grew up in. I attended NIU several years ago, and I did have classes in that specific buidling where the shooting occured, and I cannot even fathom how those students felt, nor how they were able to react and get out. It is an old-style auditorium, with uncomfortable seats, the aisles are so close together, and it is not easy to manuver on a normal day... it is a blessing that more people were not injured or killed. I have been praying and crying for those injured, killed and involved since yesterday afternoon. Since graduating from there with my degree in education nine years ago, I have had many former students attend NIU. None of them were involved in this tragedy, but still, I was scared for their lives as well.

After the Columbine incident, Michael W. Smith wrote 'This is Your Time', for one of the students who died in THAT tragedy. I'm not sure if you can play that, but it is certainly fitting for those who have lived and those who are with Jesus at this moment. For the survivors, this is their time to live, those who have come to Jesus and also those who haven't, may they find solace finally in His words.

I have found that Psalm 27 may be a comfort to some. It answers the question, whom then shall I fear? (Included in the song you just played, Never Let Go.)"

--"No doubt my heart and prayers go out to all of the students at NIU affected by this terrible thing at NIU. As you know my son Justin is going to NIU and I am praising God so much this morning for his safety. Justin was in the class next door in that same building as the shooting. He was in a hurry to get out of class early yesterday because he had an important church event that he was preparing for this weekend. He left that class around 2:45 only minutes before the shooting. We felt that God had called him out of there, he is really shook up but doing fine since he has a lot of friends that were there. We can't stop hugging him. PRAISE GOD!"

--"Marlar and Cindy, thank you. Thank you for being there for us. I went to NIU, I graduated, and I still live and work in Dekalb.

A friend of mine works across the street from the student center/cole hall area, and the moment shots were heard, a woman came in panicking into my friend's front office and told him what was going on. Here's the thing... if my friend's boss hadn't gone out to valentine's day lunch, she wouldn't have been feeling so sluggish, she would have gotten her paperwork done faster, and my friend would have been cutting through cole hall to deliver said paperwork just as the shooter was going in.

Incidentally, I was at a prayer vigil last night... I don't know if there was more than one, I certainly hope so... we were outside right in between the two largest dorms, singing and praying, and I hope we were a comfort to all the people on the other side of the open windows. (Open windows in February because the dorms are usually overheated.)

What doesn't make sense to me though, through all of this, is why a Sociology graduate student would have a motivation to shoot in an Oceanography freshman/sophomore 100 level classroom. Was it just because it was a lecture hall? I don't like not having information, but I don't suppose I have a choice in the matter.

One of the blessings in this is the social networking sites. Within an hour or two I was able to go online and see everyone's status messages on facebook and myspace, townies saying 'I am safe' and out of towners saying 'I am praying for NIU.'

I hope I made some sense in this email. As you can imagine, I feel rather confused and shaken about this whole thing... but through it all, God is my rock. Thank you again for shining his light."

--"Dear Cindy and Darren:
Thank you for your show this morning.
I can't imagine being anywhere else.
I was thinking of an old Billy Sprague song, 'Blessing of the Fleet'.
I keep hearing,
'Sometimes the pilot of a ship can make head way in a raging storm!'
I had a hard time sleeping Wednesday night. It was after 2 AM before I got to sleep.
And I had a good day (including bell practice) and it was not clear why I was called to prayer.
Now I know!
I'm also praying now for the parents and family of the shooter. How dreadful to know your son is dead. And then need to process what he did.
Keep up the good work!
God's Peace!"

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and their families.

If you would like to express your thoughts and condolences, you can do so here.


Bev said...

We were at dinner last night and saw on the TV a mention of a campus, and I knew immediately - "another shooting". How terribly sad that this is not that rare of an occurrence in our country these days. Yes, my prayers are there too.

Ann-Marie said...

It should be unbelievable, but sadly, it isn't anymore. My thoughts and prayers join yours.

Juliet said...

It is so sad. The pain that the families who lost a loved one will have to go thru.

We will be praying for comfort and grace..and God's working in all those live affected by this tragedy.

Naomi said...

This was such a terrible tragedy Cindy. It was all over the news here in England. My thoughts and prayers are with all those poor families who lost a loved one.

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