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Cross-posted from my blog, The Wayward Episcopalian.

John 16:20 says, "Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy."

The nation's prayers and thoughts have turned to Blacksburg, Virginia these past two days, as have Dartmouth's. A well-publicized candlelight vigil was held last on campus last night, and I attended a compline service at our Episcopal campus ministry dedicated to the victims. Our ministry a connection with the Episcopal campus ministry at VT- the put us up for the night and fed us twice during Spring Break last month, as we drove to and from New Orleans. After that visit, I encouraged my brother to look at VT as a prospective college. Father Scott and the students were gracious, inviting people, and the campus was beautiful. Fr. Scott writes a good blog, and I'd been intending to link to it here, but he has apparently set it to invited readers only. That wonderful little town did not deserve to be repaid this way.

It's hard for me to gauge reaction at Dartmouth, as I've been holed up in my dorm or office the last couple days, and did not attend last night's vigil. From what little I can tell, the dominant reaction, in addition to sadness, seems to be one of "Oh my God, that could happen here!" I say this based on a discussion we had in class today with two visiting former Congresspersons, and on an article about last night's vigilin this morning's school paper. Indeed, like Blacksburg, this is a small, seemingly calm and tranquil town, but all it takes is one person. It's scary to think about, looking around a classroom with just one or two doors. Whenever I read about student Derek O'Dell barricading a classroom door to prevent the gunman from re-entering, I picture one of the classrooms in Dartmouth's Rockefeller Center.

You've no doubt been thinking about and perhaps praying for the victims, their families, surviving students/staff/faculty, the first responders and medical personnel, and the Blackburg community. Perhaps you've prayed for the gunman, as well. I would encourage you to add some more folks to that list: the gunman's family. His parents will no doubt recieve much harrassment and hate as a result of their son's actions, and are surely suffering from heavy hearts and pains of guilt. Pray for their healing, too.

This sad incident reminds me of the song "Friend of Mine" by two Columbine students. Read about and listen to it here. Lyrics here.

On one final note, at least this story generated some heros. Pressure shows a man's true colors, and Professor Liviu Librescu's colors didn't run.

Cross-posted from my blog, The Wayward Episcopalian.

Originally posted to Transplanted Texan on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 09:05 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yeah, we haven't had class in a couple of days (4+ / 0-)

    (not due to the shootings, but due to holidays). There have been a couple of emails sent out about the tragedy, including one from our Pres. I'm not allowing myself to get into thinking about barricading doors and flight situations though. Rather, we should focus on the more overarching ways of preventing (or at least of reducing) the chances of this stuff occurring.

    But yeah. It's strange, all around.

    ...comó es posible que el progreso sea tan violento? / una flor, un arbol un aroma, los pajaritos...

    by Diaries on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 09:08:56 PM PDT

    •  Deep Thought (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jahaka

      "Reactive" detects, blames, corrects superficial immediate situations, where "creative" solves deeper, more basic problems of why situations form in the first place by looking at the master program, aka theories of action or governing values. If actions are changed w/o changing the master program producing actions, corrections will fail immediately, not persevere.

      Safety, like quality, is everyone`s job and responsibility, not something that management can provide (this does not absolve management from any responsibility, rather promotes team efforts). Quality initiatives fail cos they build separate quality departments into operations. Meaning, cause and effect is each individual`s "response-ability."

      I think this can be made to fit even in school shootings.

      •  no idea (0+ / 0-)

        what you're getting at here.  Its all jargon to me.

        •  Um........... (0+ / 0-)

          Reactive is like a Bush response "Plan A Master". Shallow. All BS talk - goes nowhere. If a school solely uses it`s "master" - you get nada.

          Creative is like a community planned response where real people figure out how to solve real problems according to a communities needs. BUT, unless those plans are incorporated into the master plan, they too will go ignored.

          it is a schools responsibility to provide safety, BUT that safety will be better met if it includes a community response/readiness plan.

          Kinda like - Don`t leave your neighbours unprepared, outcast, alone, or unaware in the dark?

  •  Hey (0+ / 0-)

    I've been wondering about his parents -- and wondering what happened to the guy to create such anger and alienation: was it a biological imbalance, or was it the product of abuse?  

    I think everyone on campuses across the country are wondering if it could happen there ... I work at an urban campus, and think: yes, it could happen, stress could get to someone ... and in my years in Hanover, that kind of violence seemed far away, but I think with the recent murders in the last 15 years (or so) the violence feels much closer now.  Anywhere.  It could happen anywhere.  

    I don't think its a matter of security: I think its a matter of paying attention to those that are truly hurting and having a process of getting them help.  It seems that there were red flags all over the place, and that no action - or not enough action - was taken.

    •  It is such a tragedy that this young (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      denise b, Diaries, Transplanted Texan

      man was quite obviously severely mentally ill.  Not just depressed and lonely, but more likely a paranoid psychotic or schizophrenic.  

      Here's an article tonight from WAPO, which indicates his problems were severe and well-known to both his fellow students and teachers back in the fall of 05.  One teacher really went out of her way to warn the school and the police that this was a seriously disturbed individual.  link.

      Here's another article with some thoughts from a prominent psychiatrist discussing the symptoms Cho exhibited.  

      The police indicated he had depression meds in his backpack and that he had mental health treatment before, but they're maddeningly vague on specifics.
      This is case of a man falling through some very wide cracks in the "system".  

      Small varmints, if you will.

      by 2lucky on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 09:40:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  At Maryland (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCalLiberal

    violence is almost expected on a regular basis, but not to the massive scale of VT. A student here a couple years ago killed another student in a brazen arson attack and managed to get away with it for a while by distorting the evidence. That's about the farthest it goes, the rest are robberies, a daunting thought nonetheless. The idea of something "happening here" or "happening thee" is probably even greater, because of the fact that the University is nestled in a very sketchy, creepy area. I'm not sure what Dartmouth is like, but unfortunately, any lunatic with any gun has the potential to go to anytown and kill anybody. I understand the feeling of uncertainty is one of the most frightening of all, but paranoia doesn't try to give reassurance. Fear is an acceptable fear, and it's an emotion that helps us survive. But you have to take it in stride. A college campus is like a small town. The students may be the same age as you, but there are people with problems of all varieties, and criminals are not excluded.

    "To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships." ~W.E.B. DuBois

    by rovertheoctopus on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 09:18:33 PM PDT

    •  mean to say "fear is an acceptable emotion" :P nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SoCalLiberal

      "To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships." ~W.E.B. DuBois

      by rovertheoctopus on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 09:19:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I always hear of horrible things happenning (0+ / 0-)

      out in College Park.  Violence happens on college campuses.  But not violence of this kind.  People expect to be reasonably safe in their dorms and academic buildings.  I have to say that through three and a half years of being an undergrad, I never once felt unsafe or even thought there could be violence in any of the classrooms.  I'm racking my memory to think of an exception but I can't.  Not once.  And the one year I was in the dorms, I never felt unsafe.  Well except in 2003 when Aaron Boone hit that game winner against Boston and the simultaneous groaning made me think the building I was in (dating back to the 1800's) might collapse.  But that was it.  Now in highschool/prepschool I did worry about school shootings.  After Columbine, there was a lot of paranoia and students kind of worrying about the kinds of students who might do the same sort of thing.  But as a college student, it doesn't cross one's mind.  You worry about armed robberies, rapes, maybe even burglary but this kind of thing doesn't cross one's mind.  It's shocking.  

      Obama-Villaraigosa 08'!

      by SoCalLiberal on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 09:24:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dartmouth (0+ / 0-)

      Is 4000 undergrads in a town of 10,000. You've got to drive an hour and a half before getting to any sort of a city - Manchester, NH at about 150,000. We're small, off the freeway, in the middle of the woods. And as you say, it could happen here too.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      •  Since I left Hanover (0+ / 0-)

        There have been two multiple murders that were shocking: and I wish I could remember names, but its too late for me.  There were two African women (Ethiopian?) that were murdered by the ex-financee of one of them (if I'm remembering correctly) and then the  murder of the German professor and her husband (this one I should remember more about as it was relatively recent).  Those were bad enough.  

    •  But of course there's a huge difference (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SoCalLiberal

      between "normal" criminal activity and this type of event: there's a level of violence on my urban campus that is "normal" -- that comes from being a private university stuck in the middle of a poor neighborhood and with no clear distinction between "town" and "gown" -- it all runs together, and the crime from the surrounding community spills on to campus.  So you take precautions, you pay attention, you call the cops when things seem odd, you don't walk alone at night, you use common sense and hope for the best ...

      But there's a huge difference between the crimes we experience, even the violent ones, and these murders at Virginia Tech.  These actions were pure evil.  The perpetrator was seriously deranged.  There's a scope that defies imagination in many ways: the only response is horror.  This is not about a diverse student body in which some students may moonlight as criminals -- thiefs, drug dealers, rapists -- this is about dealing with the fact of someone who went beyond common humanity in the way that he committed murder. And Dartmouth is a quiet college campus in the middle of rolling hills ... smaller than VT.  Lots of pressure.  

      •  Of course (0+ / 0-)

        And that's one thing I was, not too effectively I suppose, trying to say. The student body can be isolated from the environment itself. The only murder on another student in recent years was by another student. Within the student population, it's possible one extremely troubled person is going about there lives. I honestly have no idea who I've encountered who may be that kind of person.

        "To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships." ~W.E.B. DuBois

        by rovertheoctopus on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 09:37:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I know the feeling (0+ / 0-)

        I go to the same type of school (though the neighborhood surrounding is quite nice actually and well patrolled by different law enforcement agencies).  Still crime is a worry.  You worry about being out real late at night alone.  There are concerns of muggings, rapes (I like to walk my female friends home and or to the metro stop), burglaries (this mostly comes from unlocked and open doors), stuff like that.  But never anything like this.  It's terrifying.  

        Obama-Villaraigosa 08'!

        by SoCalLiberal on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 10:03:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I REALLY wish people would stop forgetting (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ckntfld, Diaries, Transplanted Texan

    the Red Lake Massacre of 2005. Native Americans are people, as well as US citizens. http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    •  That story has been mentioned along (0+ / 0-)

      with Columbine and others.  I don't think it was forgotten.

      This was an unpreventable event because you had a recipe for disaster.  A deranged individual who is able to buy a 9mm.  Who needs a 9mm gun and what do they use it for?  To hunt rabbit?  

      Bush's Last Day - 01-20-2009 -6.25 -5.85

      by pmob5977 on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 09:39:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Red Lake (0+ / 0-)

      I've seen that story mentioned a few times. I think the reason it isn't mentioned more is that the deaths were in the single digits. I hate to say that, but it is the really big ones that get a little more coverage, like Columbine and the University of Texas.

      I myself am not Native American, though I am a Native American Studies major.

  •  I reccomended (0+ / 0-)

    You're saying the things we all can't say.

    Obama-Villaraigosa 08'!

    by SoCalLiberal on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 10:04:06 PM PDT

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