While preparing the post on the unusual characteristics of the suicides at MIT, I looked up university shootings and found, well... draw your own conclusions:
Dec. 6, 1989: Gamil Gharbi, 25, engineering student at the University of Montreal, kills 13 women and wounds others (he released the men.)
Nov. 1, 1991: Gang Lu, 28, physics grad student at the University of Iowa, shoots his dissertation advisor and five people and himself.
Aug. 15, 1996: Frederick Davidson, 36, grad student in engineering at San Diego State, shoots three professors at his dissertation defense.
Aug. 28, 2000: James Easton Kelly, 36, a grad student at the University of Arkansas, dropped from the PhD program and shoots his dissertation advisor and himself.
Oct. 21, 2002: Huan Xiang, 38, senior at Monash University (Australia) uses five 9mms to kill two students and wound others before being subdued.
May 10, 2003: Biswanath Halder, 62, former student, returns to Case Western with two 9mm and opens fire, supposedly over a failed lawsuit against the school.
Oct. 28, 2002: Robert Flores, 40, Gulf War vet and failing out of University of Arizona Nursing College, comes in with 5 guns and shoots three teachers and himself.
Jan. 16, 2002: Peter Odighizuwa, 42, grad student recently dismissed from Virginia's Appalachian School of Law, shoots the Dean and a few others before getting subdued by students.
So graduate school is so stressful it makes people snap? Or is that just the Gulf of Tonkin?
Too old, too disconnected, too-- weird-- to be accepted or acceptable in a closed environment where social life is as important, if not more important, than academic performance; where individuality is really flavored homogeneity ("no, dude-- my iPod is white"); where "what frat?" says more than "what major?"; riding the internet while everyone gets a lot more sex, with a lot better looking people, than you; and, the last straw, your only claim to university related self-esteem gets forcibly "taken" from you.
And no, it's not the universities' fault, and it's not the media's fault, it's not mental illness, antidepressants, the "permissive society," porn, or lax gun laws. These are the convenient banalities politicians will use to appeal to a mindless base. No. This is what happens when you don't know who you are. And it is only going to get worse.