University of Idaho murders


KREM 2 News / YouTube

The crime scene in Moscow, Idaho after the murders of four college students

Drew Oldham, Contributing Writer

For months now, college students around the U.S. have been torn apart with fear and rage due to the most recent of attacks. In Moscow, Idaho, Ethan Chapin, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Madison Mogen were all victims of this brutal attack by Bryan Kohberger. Following the four students’ deaths, authorities managed to track down and arrest the 28-year-old PhD student of criminal justice at Washington State University on Dec. 30 in Pennsylvania.  

Authorities used surveillance cameras in the area of the killings, street cameras to track Kohberger’s car, DNA, cell phone location pings and eyewitness accounts to lead them to their suspect. They believe this was a “rage kill” since it showed signs of anger, rage and self-pleasure, even though there were signs it was premeditated. Rage killings are rarely premeditated and often occur as a result of an individual’s inability to handle emotions that arise within themselves amidst interpersonal conflict. It has also been concluded that Kohberger had social issues. 

Although the apprehension of an important suspect is one small step on the road to healing for all those afflicted by this senseless, violent act, this case brought about a visceral sense of uneasiness and discomfort that reached far beyond the modest 25,000 residents of this Idahoan town and seeped into and damaged the collective psyche of our entire nation.

This crime has had effects on the American public’s perception of its own personal safety. Several students at GC find that their sense of safety in their lives has been negatively affected by the developing story around these murders. 

“The lack of public access to information about the relationship between the suspect and victims raises many other questions for me,” said senior Corbin Dent, an early childhood eduction major. “This case has definitely made me feel less safe, knowing that all the victims were my age and living in off-campus housing, just as I do.”

In the past decade, there has been an increase in random acts of violence that operate outside logic, reasoning or purpose. This leaves many people having difficulty understanding the situations. Many people who do try to understand the mind behind brutal slayings such as this one often turn to the idea of a “lone wolf.” Killers often tend to emerge from the internet after gaining support on media as information arises about these criminals. They often have bitter resentment towards women, and this community outright rejects certain progressive ideals that have become the foundation of many people in today’s gender paradigms. 

GC Law professor Adam Lamparello agrees with this way of understanding those who choose to commit to these sadistic stabbings or criminal acts. 

“There is a pattern of conduct in those who engage in this type of violence that indicates most all individuals who partake in these violent acts have tendencies towards malignant narcissism, extreme social isolation or loneliness, a lack of empathy for other human beings and rejection by women that leaves them in a state of involuntary celibacy,” Lamparello said. 

Many GC students are sickened by the information emerging about the suspect.

“That dude is bat**** crazy,” said sophomore Nina Schwelm, Mass Communication major.

Many students do not have much to offer except bitter resentment and fear.

“It hit me too close to home,” Dent said. 

Kohberger remains in custody without bond until his preliminary hearing on June 26, which has made many people feel at ease, even though he has not yet been proven guilty. There is not much one can say to attempt to provide some type of solace to people who remain terrified that this violence lurks around the corner from them.