Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I'm a Hokie

So I haven't posted in a long time... not for lack of events or things to write about, more for lack of time, ok, maybe it's motivation, to post. More on me later, I promise (because there was a great vacation with some great pictures since I last posted), but for today - and this week - it feels like there are bigger and more important things to write about.

Not only am I a Badger this week, but I'm a Hokie too.

(At the risk of offering a bit of humor when discussing a terribly sad event, apparently the way freshmen at Virginia Tech are taught to respond when asked what a Hokie is, is by saying "I'm a Hokie." This week that response seems even more fitting.)

From all reports, Blacksburg, Virginia seems to be like any typical college town. The students there love their school, and each other... much like the students at any other campus. I guess that's what makes the tragic events of Monday, April 16th seem even more frightening. It reinforces the idea that crazed gunmen really can show up anywhere. It could happen in Madison. It could happen in Sheboygan. Random crime isn't isolated to big cities with notoriously high crime rates. It can happen to anyone.

Those gunshots hit a young woman, just starting her college career, who loved to dance.

Those gunshots hit a professor in his 70's, who had inspired, taught and advised countless students, and was denied the chance to touch that many more.

Those gunshots hit a 25 year old man, due to graduate from grad school in 3 weeks, who was anticipating starting his career in engineering.

Those gunshots hit a 35 year old German professor, and left behind his wife to go back to work at the same university, likely in the same building, where her husband took his last breath.

Those gunshots hit a middle-aged professor, studying cerebal palsy, and left behind his wife and three children whom he coached in youth sports.

Those gunshots hit 27 other people, who will not be forgotten. One of whom was the gunman himself. While it is easy to villify him, and deservedly so, I can't help but also grieve for him. A 23 year old man who was so lost, and in need of so much help, that he was desperate enough to destroy so many lives. He committed a terrible act, and that should not be forgotten. But there is also so much we should be able to learn from him.

Were mistakes made by police, school administrators, and professors? Possibly. But at this point, let's not get so wrapped up in placing blame or questioning the use of email to issue warnings. There will be plenty of time for those questions, answers, and new policies later. Right now, let's remember the lives that were cut too short.

"We will continue to invent the future through out blood and tears and through our sadness... We are the Hokies..."
-Nikki Giovanni

No comments: