The last we've heard from news sources, Northern Illinois linebacker Devon Butler remains in critical condition after being the random victim of a drive-by shooting in DeKalb. Based on Twitter, his teammates went to visit him and he was responsive. But the condition, which is more of a media term than it is clinical, has finally been upgraded to "serious." Which is good! But it's still, y'know, serious. That he's made it this far is completely reassuring.
I mention this not only as a public service announcement — which, isn't what this whole blog is for? — but also as an avenue to get some thoughts off my chest. On one of my old decrepit blogs, I wrote this after the NIU campus shooting that killed five victims. It was simply a rambling, un-proofread series of thoughts I had while reading about the story from across the globe. I was on business in Northern Ireland at the time, where I was told that gun violence was a thing of the past. Well, that's nice that it wasn't a warring country anymore. And neither is Illinois. But insanely wasteful actions can still be taken.
Summing up the police report, Butler and some friends went into an apartment in an off-campus housing section of DeKalb. Also headed to that apartment complex was some student named Austin Saunders who was trying to buy drugs from Mark Orozco and Richard Van Arsdale, two other students. Saunders tried to pull a fast one on Orozco and Van Arsdale, apparently, so he ran into an apartment building to hide. A couple hours later, Butler and some friends went into an apartment in that building, and it sounds like Orozco and Van Arsdale thought he was one of them (I'm not sure about this part), but regardless they fired into the window and Butler was shot in the upper right back.
He had nothing to do with this drug deal gone bad. His friends didn't seem to be involved either. This was random violence — almost the worst kind, since it's impossible to prevent. It's the Donnie Darko dilemma: lock yourself in your own home and never come out, and then an jet engine's gonna crash on you.
One of the first thoughts you may have, because he's an athlete with free time and you know what a foolhardy cocktail that can be, is to wonder what Butler did wrong. Or who did he know that could've been involved with this. But based on the report, he did nothing wrong other than hang out pretty late on a Tuesday night. And a ton of college students do this. For me, it was staying in a friend's dorm until late — I vividly recall an endless session of Tony Hawk until I realized on the clock it was 3 a.m. — but for others it's just a case of finding something to do on a weeknight. There was no sensible foresight which could have prevented this. Isn't that just morose as hell?