Letter to the Editor: After Pinnick incident, time to reflect

Richard Maska, Contributor

The news that an arrest warrant was issued on Lewis student Tariq Pinnick, for his alleged involvement in the murder of Dylan Somma on Jan. 13, is truly unfortunate and our thoughts and prayers should go out to both families.

I think the incident challenges us to ask about and discuss how and why a fellow student at Lewis University became involved in such a tragedy.

We can respectfully spare dredging the personal details of this incident. It is an awful tragedy, especially for the friends and families of both Somma and Pinnick, as they will suffer far longer than the rest of us. Some, no doubt, are students at Lewis.

Nevertheless, we should ask ourselves meaningful questions which may help understand.

What are the circumstances which changes someone from a classmate one day, to suspect at large the next? One’s gender, race, socioeconomic standing, family and social life are immutable qualities everyone has and together they help explain why and how this kind of thing happens.

What does this mean big-picture? Issues like gun violence, community and police relationships and racial equality are now as pressing nationally as they ever were. It would be a disservice to ignore them after they happen near us. Regardless of one’s one views on gun-ownership and gun-control, we certainly have to wonder whether Pinnick’s Constitutional right to bear arms helped enable the slaying of another human being.

And finally, how can we, the students, and the university at large best create the kind of environment which facilitates community and non-violence? The Flyer just published an expose on the counseling services available to help students going through a difficult period emotionally. There are a plethora of extra-curricular activities available to students like sports, academic clubs, Greek societies and the like. One wonders if such resources could have made a difference in Pinnick’s life.

Regardless of what Pinnick actually did, his involvement makes it a communal tragedy here at Lewis University, and we owe it to ourselves, as students and staff, to have a meaningful conversation which addresses how and why such incidents happen, and how they might be prevented in the future. These talks aren’t easy; they are unfamiliar, difficult, revealing, and we don’t like them. But it shouldn’t be easy, be

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