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CNN.com readers sound off on spate of mass killings

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(CNN) -- This week's deadly shooting at Northern Illinois University leaves police, campus officials and students with many unanswered questions.

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Police secure the scene Thursday after the university shooting. Student Christian Li photographed them.

One of the biggest, of course, is "Why?"

Authorities identified the gunman as Steven P. Kazmierczak, a former student at the DeKalb, Illinois, school. University President John Peters said the shooter "had a very good academic record."

CNN.com readers shared their views on Thursday's shooting and other recent mass killings -- with some blaming easy access to guns and others saying gun-free zones such as schools make easy targets. Readers also said that society didn't pay enough attention to people with mental problems and that the media glorified killers.

The following is a sampling of e-mails sent from CNN.com readers, some of which have been edited for length or clarity:

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William Ma of Whitestone, New York
The only common thread between all the campus shootings is the availability of guns. These shootings happen so often in the United States because anyone can get a hold of a gun. The campus shootings highlight the fact that gun control is the only answer. None of these individuals have a criminal background that would prevent them from purchasing a gun but that is only if they sought to get it "legally." The politicians lay prostrate before the pro-death gun lobby while more Americans die from shooting deaths each day than U.S. soldiers die overseas while fighting two wars. When will Americans finally come to our senses about controlling the availability and potency of guns in our communities? Video Watch emergency crews rush wounded from the scene »

Wayne Ellis of Allen, Texas
This is a perfect example to support allowing licensed people to carry guns on college campuses and even into classrooms as well as everywhere else. This shooter would have been killed before he could have gotten off more than two shots if other people there had been allowed to legally carry weapons. As the old cliché goes: "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns." The restrictions on law-abiding citizens made them all easy prey for this or any other crazed shooter.

Jeff Tormala of Molalla, Oregon
It's not guns. Our society has glorified violence and dysfunction for the last 40 to 50 years, and we are reaping the fruits of it. Take a look at prime-time TV today: "CSI," "Law & Order," now "Dexter." It's a lineup of the most disgusting cruelty on display for all. Video games and movies that glorify violence against innocent individuals. What do we expect? It won't end until we as a society say enough is enough.

Martin Wnuk of Friendswood, Texas
Apparently we've become a nation of strangers. There seems to be very little in common to bond us to our fellow Americans outside of our immediate families. And some don't even have that to fall back on.

Many claim we are a Christian country, yet cutthroat competition and winning are given all the emphasis and rewards over any Christian ideal. Photo See I-Reporters' views of the shooting »

And it also seems that things of real value are pretty much being dismissed while worthless things are assigned great value.

So it's not surprising that we are creating these seemingly soulless ghouls who are in reality desperate, lonely, hopeless and ill ... and capable of unthinkable random violence.

I have no answer to it. In a few weeks this will be forgotten, except by the fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers and friends of the slain, who will live with it forever.

Jan Owens of Charlotte, North Carolina
These people are saying to the world, 'See me and feel my pain,' but instead of seeking help they pervert their way. They become what the world hates, which is a terrorist. They are no better than a suicide bomber; in fact, they are worse. The media should show them as they are at the time they decide to do this, demonic.

Who they were prior to this means nothing; they wipe that out with their guns.

Ruth Neal of Northridge, California
I think that there are more shootings now because our children are no longer taught to accept responsibility for their actions. Parents and government are both to blame for this. Parents, because they are not willing to put forth the effort to raise their children to respect others and their right to be different. When something goes wrong, the parents will often find a reason why someone or something else is to blame for the problem, never the child. The government enforces the problems by curtailing disciplinary action in schools, cutting school funding, cutting counseling at schools and eliminating after-school programs. We have raised a generation of me-first children who give no thought to anything beyond their own wants and needs. We have become a society where one person's view can take precedence over the majority. We have allowed God to be pushed aside in favor of the minority. We have become the most violent society in the world. Until things change, we can only expect to see more horrendous tragedies in the years to come.

Richard Smith of Tulsa, Oklahoma
The shootings are happening on school campuses because we are allowing them to. These are called "gun-free or safety zones." The problem is that the shooters go there because they know that security is usually lax or nonexistent, and that there will not be anybody else with weapons.

Regardless of what gun-control advocates believe, the evidence is clear, not only in this country but elsewhere in the world: You can have all the bans you want against guns; criminals do not care. Some say the answer is more security.

Although I support this idea, the fact remains that security cannot be in all places at all times. And usually by the time they respond it is too late. Like it or not, if law-abiding citizens are allowed to arm themselves for protection, they are in a better position to stop these shooters. Also, if shooters realize that private citizens are allowed to carry weapons in these so-called "gun-free or safety zones," they will not be so quick to go there. Again! Why do you think it is mainly happening on school campuses and in places where guns are banned?

Vince Amormino of Shelby, Michigan
There is a lack of understanding, a lack of acceptance, and a lack of love for each other in our culture.

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P.W. Johannes of Portland, Oregon
There isn't one reason for this type of event. It's the combination of several things: an open society, the availability of and easy access to firearms, a society that poorly socializes male children to deal with their feelings, and a culture that can make even the strongest among us feel, at times, disenfranchised, alone and alienated. There are many sad, lonely and angry people in every community; it's time to ask what we, as individuals, have done today to exacerbate or mitigate someone else's pain or our own.

B. Whaley of Indianapolis, Indiana
These shooters want to go out with their name in the headlines, their photograph in People magazine with a two-to-three page article. The shooters should never be identified -- only their innocent victims should have any press coverage. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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