Virginia Tech, In Light of Tragedy

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Virginia Tech, In Light of Tragedy

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Submitted by boldfaith3 on Wed, 04/25/2007 - 11:29pm.

Let me start by saying I am a student at Virginia Tech on my way to a degree in mechanical engineering. I have not been on this site in a while due mainly to the events last week which I am sure most of you have heard about. In light of the tragedy we have been forced to undergo, I have a lot to say. Let me first start with my story.

On April 16, 2007 I slept through my 8am engineering lecture. This is something I try not to make a habit of, but with this class it has happened quite a few times. I woke up somewhere around 9:30 when my fiance called me and told me she was coming over. This was unusual since she normally has class at this time. That was when she told me that they had closed down all of the campus buildings. My first thought on this was that there was another bomb threat (We had two bomb threats in one of our buildings the week before). That was when she told me that there had been a shooting in West Ambler Johnston, a residential building where I lead a small group Bible study for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. I was fairly shocked at this. I have heard about school shootings at colleges before but there is rarely ever a crime of that magnitude at Virginia Tech. We have had a small number of sexual assaults and one student was killed last year I believe, but it is rare enough that it still comes as a shock. Moving on, my fiance came over and we proceeded to check e-mails and the news to try to figure out what was going on. This is also when we called our parents to let them know we were safe (mine actually called me first). As we were talking to our parents, they asked about something that came on the news saying that there were some 22 students killed. This was entirely unbelievable and confusing. I could only think that my parents were looking at something wrong because there was no way that 22 students had been killed when I had originally heard that one student was shot in a residential building. All this time we had been recieving e-mails about lockdowns and telling us to stay where we were. During this confusion the number of sirens that screamed past my apartment brought a painstaking realization that this was real and all I could think of was something went really wrong. That's when other people started spreading news around and all the facts began to unravel. By the time we had our information all sorted out, we were horrified to realize that 33 students had been killed, 31 of them (including the shooter) during classes in Norris hall, an engineering building.

The first thing I want to say about this event is that it was deeply disturbing and I am still horrified that something like this has happened so close to home. My deepest sympathies go out to any of the families and friends of our hokie family who were involved in this tragic event. I have been praying for you all that God will show you his comfort and healing power through your grief. I did not know anyone involved personally though I have many friends who did and I know a few people who should have been involved. One of my roomates also slept through a class that morning after being up all night to do work. His class was in one of the rooms in Norris Hall that was attacked. One of my small group members who lives in WAJ lost her roomate. I have realized through this tragedy, the importance of those people around me and the relationships I have which so often suffer for the sake of homework assignments. I believe that many of us have felt the impact of this as we realize how many of our friends and teachers we forget to express our gratitude and appreciation for as we struggle to meet deadlines. If there is one thing I have learned from this it is that people will ALWAYS come first. In the week following this tragedy I have broken down in tears more times than I can remember. I think about the people around me that I could have lost and then I think about the pain that those people are going through who did lose their dear friends and family. The pain that I went through was difficult but I cannot begin to imagine the pain of friends and family. I can only offer again my deepest sympathies. If anyone should need someone to listen, please don't hesitate to do what you can to express your grief which I would not expect to be anything less than inexpressible.

All that being said, I will say this: <b>Virginia Tech will not be remembered for this tragedy. We are a community like no other I have ever experienced, and that is what we will be remembered for. We are hokies. We will not allow this school to become synonomous with tragedy and sorrow, but with coming together and rebuilding. I have never been more proud to be a hokie.</b> The support that has come together from this school has been incredible. Students coming together to embrace others that they don&#39;t even know in a simple gesture of understanding and common grief. We are grieving as a body and we are moving forward as a body. This is a community where teachers are encouraging students to grow and continue to move forward and to prove that we can get through this together. A community where students are encouraging teachers and giving them strength to keep going when many of them are simply unable to continue teaching. <b>This is a community that defines the very term community and says that we are here to help each other. I have never been more proud to be a hokie.</b>

Along these lines, we also fall behind President Steger. This is our President, a hokie. I have grown tired and disgusted at the attacks on how this situation was handled. Campus was locked down after the first shooting. Yes, campus was reopened. Under the shield of safety we have all learned to live at ease, with no fear of any kind of danger, let alone a danger of this magnitude. There are certainly more precautions taken at night with regards to walking alone or letting our friends walk home alone, but for the most part we have all felt entirely safe. It is a perfectly natural response then after being told that the shooting was a domestic issue to believe that there was no harm to any other students. The first shooting was initially believed to be caused by someone who was angry with their girlfriend. The decision to send students back to classes may not have been the most cautious decision, but it was certainly reasonable under the conditions and I find it highly unlikely that anyone else would have done differently. The terrible tragedy following could not have been forseen by anyone. That being said, there are arguments that Cho (the shooter) should have been taken out of school. He was a loner type of student who had been believed to have issues before with anger and also looked into for stalking a number of women. Let&#39;s start with this, He was taken out of his classes and taught one on one by his english professor who believed he had psychological issues. He was also sent to counselling which he did not continue to go to for very long. You can&#39;t force a 22 year old student to go to counselling. His writings were disturbing and somewhat violent but there was no apparant threat of danger to anyone other than himself. He had not told anyone, as far as we know, of any thoughts that could have indicated his later actions. This was certainly a troubled kid and the university did try to get help for him. It bothers me that people think now that their first thought was that it was him. Yes this may have been true, but looking back we can always make guesses as to who we think may have done something based on their personality. That doesn&#39;t mean that it is always true and doesn&#39;t mean that it could have been anticipated. Couselling and Corrective measures were taken and though they were obviously not enough, this could not have been forseen. <b>We want to lay off on the blame and have people realize that we are here for each other. This is our community and we will not allow it to be torn apart with blame and guilt.</b>

I will say once more that through this tragedy I have realized the importance of life and those people that share it with us. This was a tragic and horrifying event that hit entirely too close to home but unfortunately there are similar events that happen all over the world constantly. Just after this hit the news there were tickers showing hundreds killed by bombings in Iraq. We don&#39;t want this to be a juice story. We don&#39;t want our suffering to become exciting headlines. This is a terrible thing that we are grieving over and we offer each other all the help we can. We remember the things that have happened and come together to move forward. But we also want to remember the suffering and pain that is occuring accross the globe. As Americans, especially on the Virginia Tech campus, we don&#39;t expect tragedy of this magnitude, but many other places do and for that reason it is ignored. We no longer want to ignore that suffering that is constantly occuring around the world but to bring all of this tragedy into the light all at once so we can all move forward and bring this world to a better place where the media is no longer captivated by bloody headlines. We want to see the change in this world and see the inspiration of so many people who work to make that change.

<b>We are hokies. This is our community. We will not be defined as a headline but as a hopeline

If you would like to give money to support the families and the healing process of those here at Tech please visit this site to do so: http://www.vt.edu/tragedy/memorial_fund.php</b>

God bless you all and may His grace embrace us all giving us comfort and protection.



For these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love. But the greatest of these is Love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

Original Source:
<a href="http://www.progressiveu.org/022902-virginia-tech-in-light-of-tragedy">http://www.progressiveu.org/022902-virginia-tech-in-light-of-tragedy</a>

Creative Commons License: <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0</a>

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boldfaith3

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2007-05-10

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Brent Jesiek

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eng

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boldfaith3, "Virginia Tech, In Light of Tragedy," in The April 16 Archive, Item #148, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/148 (accessed October 25, 2014).