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.