Reading and re-reading Nikki Giovanni's poem from VT's Convocation, I am so sad for those 33 families...yes, I include that very disturbed shooter's family. How must they feel? They apparently came to the US seeking a better life for their children. Working at a dry cleaner's, they managed somehow to send their daughter through Princeton, and were putting their anguished son through Virginia Tech. Now, their dream is over, ending in a shattering chaotic scene of blood and horrific loss.
We are all touched by this tragedy, every single one of us. Four students from our church's congregation were on campus and fortunately were spared, but their friends were not. Our former church secretary just took a position on campus only two weeks before this last Monday; her office is in a building next to Norris Hall, so she heard the gunshots and screams and loudspeakers. Her daughter graduated from VT.
So many lives changed by this demented young man, who thought of himself as Jesus on the cross, who envied the Columbine killers, who long ago apparently needed institutionalization.
He had problems in middle school, in high school. He felt persecuted, harrassed, despised.
So he turned on those he felt were more privileged than he.
I was finally able to turn off the TV news by Wednesday night, when our church held a community service. That evening, those mind-chilling tapes turned up on TV, and we saw what those students saw as they left this world.
The world changed for us on 9/11; now it has changed yet again. Time to read Nikki Giovanni's words. She faced him down in the classroom, when he tried to intimidate her. She may well have been one of his targets. Her words are in today's edition of the Roanoke Times, and appear on VT's Website as well.
Today, Friday the 20th, everyone is wearing VT's colors. Somehow, we have all become Hokies.