Armies of therapists and volunteers were on hand at NIU to participate in the spectacle and feed the sense of drama:
volunteers did their best to fight the gloom. Some led crisis-response dogs across the campus, offering students and faculty the chance to scratch specially trained, soft-eyed pets. Others passed out bags of homemade cookies or offered hugs to passing strangers.
"You are kind of putting yourself out there a little bit, but the kids need this," said Ilona Meagher, 42, a junior journalism major whose sign offered "Free Huskie Hugs." For anyone who made eye contact but didn't take the initiative, Meagher stepped forward, arms wide.
Sorry if my cynicism offends, but I can assure you I'm not the only clinician who gags a little in reaction to the post-traumatic, therapeutic theatrics. Maybe I've known too many crisis flies -- the kind whose own sense of heroic drama blossoms by inserting themselves into the tragedies afflicting others. And as long as I'm offending, I'll throw in another controversial opinion. While there were certainly many people who were terribly harmed by these tragic murders at NIU (the shooting victims themselves, the terrorized students in that lecture hall and the families and close friends of victims), there were many more students who were shaken up but not damaged by these events. They don't need therapy, they don't need special treatment with kid gloves and they don't need woo interventions by people who want to be a part of the drama and claim a piece of the suffering for themselves. They will deal with it, in time, without any need for therapy.