Being in residence life, your staff becomes part of your family. My RAs are like adopted kids. What hurts is that I know that any of my staff would have reacted the same way.. they hear a disturbance, they come out of their room, then Boom? Shot? We always say that RAs need to be careful, but do we ever think that this could be an outcome of them trying to help a resident? I admit to having the mentality that that could never happen to us. Yes, perhaps getting punched or pushed, but a gun shot? College is supposed to be one of the safest places because it is a place where people come for higher learning, to better themselves in some way (yes, not everyone comes here for that, and there are a lot of people with mental health issues here, but we have so many resources to help people that you never think that something this extreme could happen).
We just had an ignorant student write a commentary last week in the student newspaper hear entitled "RAs: Do they really assist?". It was really all about him being upset that one of his friends got written up for drinking, but he went on and on how RAs are just there to spy on kids and get them in trouble. He went on about if RAs really want to assist they should help kids unpack their cars during move in day (which we do) and give students massages (Umm... hello??). How does this relate? Well, my staff were really offended by that article last week, and now thinking about the RA who got shot trying to respond to someone in need makes me even more bitter about that article.
What makes me scared (and no, I dont think Im being dramatic) is that my colleague and I were just talking about how we have a tremendous about of students this year with mental health issues and how incidents lately have been becoming more and more violent in nature. Just last night I had to deal with a cutter and her boyfriend getting in my face for calling the police and counselor on her.
It scares me that in today's society, our kids are getting de-sensitized to violence. Last night when discussing the occurances of the day with an RA, he said "yeah, the VA tech thing bothered me, but I grew up hearing about Columbine and 9/11... I am used to this stuff". His statement really took me back.. I lived through that stuff too, but it doesnt make me less distraught when something like this happens. Are our younger kids who grew up hearing about this really becoming less respondant to it? Is one of the reasons why we have more violence in schools becuase kids just have less of a regard for human life?
It is scary, especially its me and my staff who are first responders to things like this.
Anyway, sorry to be such a downer, but I needed to get these thoughts off my chest. Anyone have any other reactions to what happened?