A moment for reflection

April 16, 2007

Just before turning off the television this morning, I saw breaking news on CNN about the shooting incident at the Virgina Tech campus. Although any shooting is serious, I assumed that it was an isolated incident that would follow a certain course of attention from news outlets, becoming a secondary or tertiary headline for a day or two before everyone forgets about it. Only after arriving at work a few hours later did I understand the story’s enormity and gravity: at least 21 dead, maybe more, and nearly 30 wounded. The deadliest school shooting ever, with more fatalities than Columbine (the 8th anniversary of which approaches in a few days) and the University of Texas Tower shootings in 1966. In fact, when I first saw the number of confirmed deaths, I felt a chill when I realized that it outnumbered those from UT over 40 years ago, which remained the deadliest on-campus incident until today.

Naturally, anyone involved in higher education will contemplate the ramifications of this incident. It doesn’t matter if one is faculty, student, or staff. Despite the still unknown motives behind the shooting, we all probably have our own theories about what might have caused it. However, before publicly engaging or indulging in such speculation, it seems best to just keep the dead, the wounded, and those close to them in our thoughts. Besides, there’s enough for those directly involved to deal with as they learn more about what happened.

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