And so we bow our heads.

Yesterday morning, about the time the second rounds of shots rang out on a campus nearly two thousand miles away two days ago, I had to go to our engineering building to hand out some surveys. I had locked my car and headed down the length of our campus, looking at everyone else that looked like me, with the backpacks and hurried walking; everyone that carried that singular air of Student.

I walked along a recreation of a rounded rectangular patch of grass that is shown on the graphics of the news stations. It took me a similar ten minutes to cross our campus as it would have taken a student at Virginia Tech. It was an area that someone else took two hours to cross in our few minutes.

There is a unity in replication of facts. It falls together like bits of glass from a broken mirror and in its fragments I can see myself and my environment. Virginia Tech has the same amount of students as my school, the killer was an English major, and that those gasping their last breaths were in German and French class.

It could have happened here. Two semesters ago, I could have been in those exact same classes. What would have happened here? Would the creaking and shaking table that I sat at, pondering if a Kueche or Strudel was masculine or feminine, shielded me from a swift and burning manifestation of madness? Or would have I been sitting in a journalism class watching as the overachievers needed to be held down from running into the commotion. Those who ran to find out more information or satiating the curiosity that sometimes flashed in the eyes, a flash which sometimes reminded them why the wanted to be a journalism majors in the first place.

I don’t know. And I don’t think those students knew either. Sadly, I can’t place too much blame on an administration, who if replication is consistent, was more worried about its school’s income of money and its place in the world of academia. They, and we all, think that we have more to worry about than the absurd, even if the absurd sees fruition from the small seeds in the brain of a madman. It shouldn’t be fear that drives us, but to ignore the motives of fear doesn’t seem smart or, for the more hard-hearted, economical.

Interestingly enough, it was pointed out to me that this is not the deadliest mass or school death toll that the United States has ever seen. Sadly, looking at that, it seems to me that we are not only embedded, not only in our isolationist care for just ourselves (at least in the media), but also in the gravity that the immediacy of our time inspires. Perhaps we are in the circle of hell that is repetition.


7 Responses to And so we bow our heads.

  1. eatsbugs says:

    As always, you put things in perspective.

  2. E says:

    By the same token is it reasonable to expect this sort of thing to happen all the time, to live in a shell in the fear of the unknown? Sure, vigilance is good, but this sort of thing isn’t exactly status quo for many of us. Unless, as you mention, a place like the streets of Baghdad, where two Virginia Tech-sized killings happen just about everyday.

    In the end, bad things happen, either by accident or by bad intentions. While hindsight is insightful, it ultimately cannot change much. I think this is one situation where it might not be as useful as we would hope.

    What I find most troubling is that we can’t just say this guy was crazy. You just have to look at his carefully planned manipulation to see that he was disturbingly aware of what he was doing. What sort of society is it that can breed someone like that? In the end, can anything be sufficiently blamed or reasoned to make this any less senseless or any less likely?

  3. firewings says:

    I don’t actually advocate a shell of fear per se, but more a sense of understanding that the world is dangerous and realize that it isn’t as Bush likes to see it that schools should be “sanctuaries.” [I’m inherently paranoid and hyper-aware of situations, but that’s not the norm.] Having elementary schools safe would be nice, but at a college level you’re dealing with pieces of a real world that need to be taken in account, perhaps deadlier emotions and abilities to create more damaged. But even when addressing people who had negative experiences from elementary and high school, you deal with the darker elements of human nature that people would like to overlook.

    I am trying to say that you can’t place blame, in this case, to the administration because of the inherent bizarre structure of this situation. I think that they did what they could in such a situation. If they would have created a mass hysteria with sirens and rumor-mongering there would have been a lot more death. I think there should have been a bit more PR work on those e-mails, but hey.

    And as much you don’t want to say that he wasn’t a eyes-rolling-in-sockets-and-frothing-at-the-mouth sort of crazed, there were signs with his writing, his behavior, and they all created a pattern. Looking at the stuff he sent to NBC…he fell through the cracks somehow.

  4. Thebutton says:

    Perhaps I should have listend to the news a bit longer. I tend to phase out a story if it takes too long and CNN was doing it’s forever long coverage on it…just like they did with the Anna Nichole crap. I shall do some digging online. Thank you for being quite informative.

  5. Thebutton says:

    Alright, I have now watched the video clips online and I am in total shock. He was truely disturbed. I didn’t like him comparing himself to Christ being crucified. Christ didn’t wipe out 32 other people when he died. Sure this guy had a statement to make, but man. Then the roomate having no clue that he was like that. Sorry, in total shock in all of this.

  6. B says:

    I have been trying to say the same thing to those around me–and I feel like its easier to find someone else to blame.

    I realize that this incident, this tragedy could’ve taken place anywhere. Yes, it’s sad, but its our reality.

  7. eatsbugs says:

    There is no way to wipe out the symptoms that have led to this event. There are simply too many pieces to work with withouth simply brainwashing every single person.

    We cannot linger on these things. It is sad, it happened, and many died. Let us mourn, then move on. That is the best solution.

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