In 1966, Charles Whitman climbed 28 floors to the observation deck of The University of Texas clock tower, opened fire and killed 16 people.
Cho Seung-Hui was a student at Virginia Tech in 2007 when he opened fire on the university, killing 33 people.
These are two of the deadliest campus shootings in history. These massacres offered no warnings, but following these events, we take any misplaced social media venting as a serious threat… as we should.
This brings us to the focal point. You all might have missed this last week, but something happened on Facebook that genuinely and rightfully made our hairs raise here at The Missourian.
We came across a post from one professor to another that read, “By October, I’ll be wanting to get up to the top of the bell tower with a high powered rifle – with a good scope, and probably a gatling gun as well.”
We will not even acknowledge the possible joking tone that may have been lost in this post because, honestly, we don’t care. We are shocked that a University professor would willingly post something so incredibly unwise, and that it went under the radar.
Granted the post was removed later that day after comments from other faculty were made.
But that is not a joke you make, and we hope that’s all that it was. That is not something you say, no matter how frustrating your students may get. That’s not something you throw around at any point, on any forum, for any reason.
According to an April article in Huffington Post, there have been 13 shootings on college campuses halfway through 2013.
We don’t need someone joking about another one. And we question the intelligence and decision making of a University professor who would, without thought, post those words to social media, and we’d question them further if there was actually thought in it.
If a student had posted something like this, he or she would have been brought in for questioning, put in handcuffs or given the boot from Northwest. So we ask, why not this professor? How has it been a week and no one knew, and if they did, why haven’t they said anything?
It seems to us there is a different precedent set for students than faculty and staff. Is this the case, and if so, why?
At this point, we’re confident the University is aware of the post, and we’re watching. We’re waiting because in our eyes, that’s a “joke” you just don’t make.