I am struggling with how to communicate my sorrow towards the Virginia Tech shootings. The last 36 hours have been draining, and I was never even a student at Tech.
Word came out today that the shooter was from Northern Virginia. 4 miles away from where I called home to be exact. To know that at one time you were in the presence of someone who was capable of such horror is mind blowing. A friends Dad taught one of the victims in High School. A friends sister knew another victim. My cousin knew a victim. A friend works at Tech and is in the midst of the grieving.
Being 1,600 miles away is taxing. The schools in Virginia are uniting with the Hokies, and are holding each other up. Texas doesn’t have any ties to Tech or Virginia, and there is little dialog about what occurred. I want so badly to relate to someone who feels as closely connected as I do.
To see your hometown and state splashed across the news…to be the center of the nations attention…and to know people who are affected…such a sense of helplessness sets in. I can’t explain it. It’s just there.
I anticipated lengthy discussions in my classes today, as all three are sociology classes. I thought the teachers would want to discuss the shootings, as it clearly has an affect on society. However, none of my teachers brought up the issue in class. In fact, one of my teachers made a flippant comment about hoping none of her students would shoot her, and another teacher said “the shooting at Vermont Tech, or whatever, makes me sick.” I nearly screamed in a fit of rage that not only could she not get the school right, but she was also completely apathetic to the story. Only one of my professors seemed to be moderately bothered, and I think it’s because he’s originally from West Virginia, and like me, has ties to Virginia Tech through friends and colleagues. Why, on a University campus, was this not a topic for discussion today?
Rosie O’Donnel had the nerve to bring politics into the aftermath this morning. She criticized President Bush for going down to Blacksburg today, while he waited a week to go to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Does Rosie O’Donnel not realize that Katrina, while a catastrophe, was something that wasn’t necessarily the fault of President Bush? That the responsibility of the well being of the state was ultimately in the hands of the state and local government? Katrina was a rescue mission for over a week – President Bush should not have to legitimize his reasoning for staying out of a search and rescue scene. It blows my mind that she can be so disrespectful and flippant, saying that she went into a deep depression, Post-Columbine, yet she’s almost numb after the VA Tech shootings. To taint such a story by bringing politics into it…I feel saddened for the families of the victims who may stumble upon that footage.
I am just terribly saddened by all of this. I can relate all too closely, and it’s all I can do to think of something other than Tech.