Today’s guest post is from yet another friend of the blog whose campus sustained a knife attack by a student that was ended when he was shot and killed by campus police. Fortunately and significantly, the only fatality in this incident was the perpetrator–he inflicted no fatal injuries because his weapon of choice was not a gun. Susan Amussen, Professor of History at the University of California, Merced, sent this in on Thursday night and updated it last night after the vigil for the victims.
By now, most of you know that on Wednesday morning, a student at UC Merced named Faisal Mohammed attacked a fellow student in a classroom with a knife. He proceeded to stab a contract worker who had intervened when he heard the noise. He then went outside and stabbed one of our staff advisors, and another student who tried to help that advisor. As he ran from the campus police he was shot; he later died of his wounds.
As these stories go, it’s not as bad as it could have been. He didn’t have a gun. That was my first thought, and I can’t tell you how many of the messages I’ve received have commented on that. It was early (a 7:30 AM class) so the campus was relatively empty. All the victims are alive, and will make a full recovery. Only the student who wielded the knife is dead. Faisal (who I hadn’t known) was a first year student, and really, at this point that’s all we know. While Fox News has tried to talk about jihad, as our Chancellor has said, there is no evidence that the initial attack involved anything but personal antagonism. His roommate reports that he kept to himself, and didn’t seem to have friends. All of us who teach know how complicated the transition to college is for many kids, and I keep thinking of him as a child. I can’t use the words that are used so often – suspect, perpetrator, etc. He was a kid, a student, with some kind of problem, but we don’t know what. Continue reading