Tragedy struck my hometown again yesterday.  This time the tragedy was on the campus of Binghamton University.  Almost eight months ago to the day, 13 people were killed in an act of madness – and in my mind cowardice – at the American Civic Association in Binghamton.

Yesterday, a professor emeritus at Binghamton University, a man who was 77 years old, was stabbed to death.  The professor was in an office in Science I – a classroom building on campus – when a man, presumed to be a graduate student but that information has not yet been released, stabbed the professor multiply times.  Eyewitness reports say that Harpur’s Ferry – a campus-based medical emergency response team – was on the scene promptly and was doing chest compressions as they moved the victim to the ambulance.  Eyewitnesses also say that campus University Law Enforcement Division officers tackled the alleged stabber in a hallway of the classroom building.

I have, in previous blog entries here and here associated with the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007, discussed how college campuses need to be places for open discussions that lead to learning.  The exchange between faculty and students that helps students become critical thinkers cannot take place in a “police state.”  It must take place in an open society.

Do we need to have metal detectors as students, faculty and staff pass into every building?  Do we need to become a society that censors everything to make it politically correct?  I answer an emphatic NO to both of these questions.  I, as I have in the past, again say that we need to become a society that is more vigilant.  We need to be able to look around at those with us and know what is going on with the area, the space we are in.  We need to wonder what is going on with those near us.  We need to question and support those in trouble.

I started to type that we need to be an open society that has some fear of what might happen but that is not a way to live.  We should not fear our colleagues, or in the case of a professor, our students.  We should be open to discussions with those who disagree with us and be open to teaching those who want to learn about different cultures.

I leave you all with a link to the local newspaper’s article on this tragedy.  I have waited to link to this as I am embarrassed by some of the comments associated with the article.   Please keep the family of Richard Antoun and the students, faculty and staff at Binghamton University in your thoughts and prayers.

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