|Volume XXVIII Issue 9||October 31, 2002|
Students have ties to D.C.-area sniper
Karen Rivas - Reporter
Of the 70 percent of Elon students who come from out of state, a large number come from the Washington, D.C., area. Virginia ranks second and Maryland third in enrollment numbers, according to Admissions staff members.
Just when the United States began to heal wounds left from last yearís terrorist attacks and put behind the anthrax scare, the country was shaken again by the acts of an unknown adversary.
This tim, the victims are men, women and children from different ages and paths in life, chosen apparently at random.
The shootings began Oct. 2 when a man was shot and killed in Wheaton, Md. Later, the snipers spread to different parts of Maryland, Virginia and the Washington, D.C., area. Ten people have died and three others have been wounded.
Though no attacks directly affected North Carolina, Elon students, whose family members live in those areas, have felt the impact of the events greatly.
Jessica Schaefer, an Elon junior, is from Pasadena, Md., 15 minutes away from where a 13-year-old-boy was allegedly shot by the sniper. Her mother is an elementary school teacher. Since the shootings started, Schaeferís motherís school has been locked down with police officers, she said.
Schaefer says though there is always a chance one can die, itís harder to go on with life when the danger "is right in your face."
Emily Kirkpatrick agrees.
Her family lives in Springfield, Va., about 15 miles south of Washington, D.C. Kirkpatrickís mom is also a teacher. Working with 4-year-olds has been particularly hard the last couple of weeks since they were not allowed to go outside, she said.
Knowing that the shootings were happening so close to home gave her a "weird feeling." "Being four hours away [from home], I worried about my family," Kirkpatrick said.
So did Gregory Lilly, associate economics professor at Elon. His family lives in the Richmond area, about 35 minutes from Ashland, Va., where the sniper allegedly killed his last victim Oct. 22.
His mother, Agnes Lilly, says everybody was a bit nervous, especially when it was announced that two possible suspects were arrested in Richmond last week. She tried to avoid stopping at gas stations for fear of what could happen.
"Itís a very frightening thing," she said.
Junior Joseph Richardson is pleased with the way residents in the affected area handled the situation. His parents live in Gaithersburg, Md., hometown of the ninth victim, who was fatally shot Oct. 9 at a gas station.
Richardson went home for fall break and was surprised to see neighborhood kids playing freely outside. His two brothers had their football practice in the school gymnasium as a precaution.
Even though it is difficult to deal with everything that has happened right now, he said, people will eventually put this behind them and keep going.
"People canít change their way of life," student Monica Zimmerman said. "They have no other choice."
Zimmermanís family lives in McClain, Va., 10 minutes from Falls Church, where a 47-year-old woman became the sniperís 11th victim in the parking garage of a shopping center.
Now that the criminals seem to be finally in the hands of justice, things are probably going to go back to normal pretty soon, she said. Itís just a matter of time.
Elonís chaplain, the Rev. Richard McBride agrees.
"Our society is remarkably resilient," he said. "We have this optimism about life; we get back in the groove of normal life quickly."
Though McBride considers this to be a strong feature of American culture, he also says this tendency prohibits people from reflecting, as deeply on the events as they ought to be.
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