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Updated and republished (top news story on Google News).

Since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut, Americans have gained a new sensitivity to the harm that can be caused by a single gunman. So it is that we now face what from updated accounts was termed a false alarm. However within minutes that false alarm made headlines from coast to coast and around the world, which tells us that something has changed. America and the world have gained a new sensitivity for gun violence on America's streets and America's campuses. As such this diary invites you to comment and in doing so join our conversation and tell us, do you think the tragedy at Sandy Hook has changed America? Has it changed the willingness of the media to instantly report across the nation and around the world a new perspective on the acceptability of gun violence in America. In doing so, let's look at some the early reports and the raw nerves that it generated as it brought back a flood of memories from Sandy Hook elementary, which asks the question, is anyone in America safe? Will we ever be safe again?

MIT on lockdown after reports of armed gunman
Associated Press – 24 mins ago

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Institute of Technology says a man carrying a long rifle and wearing body armor was spotted in a campus building, and the school is on lockdown.


This is from the Guardian (British) newspaper published...
Details as to the extent of the threat were not immediately available, but on the MIT website a notice urged students to stay indoors. It read: "This morning information was received from Cambridge Police that there was a person with a long rifle and body armor in the Main Group Building of MIT.

"Multiple law enforcement agencies have responded. Stay indoors and shelter in place and report suspicious activity to the campus police."


From appearances the alert has proven to be a false alarm, and MIT has come back to business as usual. Yet we know in America that the next shooting tragedy is just around the corner. We know that it will happen again, and therefore we have now become hyper-vigilant in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. We know something else as well, we know the world is now watching us! When a false alarm at MIT makes international headlines around the world, we know how the world sees American shooting tragedies, and though this today was a false alarm, the fear nonetheless is real, as is the danger of the next shooting.

In America the vulnerable,
This diary asks the question after the tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary school, will any of us ever truly feel safe again? Welcome to the new normal.

PS: This important reader comment deserves your attention.

why not MIT?
by Greg Dworkin

As a graduate, and as a Newtown resident, I would've guessed MIT but not Newtown if you asked me a multiple choice question last year.

MIT is a pretty intense place, with intense pressure to succeed. Part of the learning process is maneuvering your way through. Easy to see how someone could snap.

    Facts and Figures

    (A Boston Globe study of college suicides, 1990-2001) Of the 12 schools that made data available [including Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, University of Michigan, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign], MIT had the highest suicide rate: 10.2 per 100,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The only direct comparison for the 12 could be made counting all students. MIT also provided a breakdown of its undergraduate suicides, where the rate was 20.6. Most other colleges had fewer than 7 suicides per 100,000, closer to the average for all colleges. The rate at Harvard, with total annual enrollment of about 18,500, was 7.4, with 15 suicides since 1990. The rate at Johns Hopkins was 7, and at Cornell, 5.7. At some public universities that compete for students with MIT, incident rates were also lower: The University of Michigan, which enrolls about 37,000 students a year, had a rate of 2.5. [ref]

    74% of students surveyed by the [2001] MIT task force said they had an emotional problem that interfered with their daily lives. [ref]

    MIT officially acknowledges 47 student suicides from 1964-2000. [ref]

    Suicide rates per 100,000 student-years during the period of 1964 to 2000:
    National Average    MIT Undergraduate    MIT Undergraduate + Graduate
    1964-2000    11.7    21.2    14.6
    1995-2000    12.0    18.1    10.1


Originally posted to Democrats Ramshield on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 10:05 AM PST.

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