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Prayers for the Maroon and Orange

April 18, 2007

Rather than just gloss over it and try to ignore it, I thought I'd offer my little bit of condolences for the people of Virginia Tech. I have no real ties to the school, but living in the Raleigh-Durham area, I have some friends who went to Va Tech, my wife's cousin went to Va Tech, and I've visited the campus while visiting with some friends from nearby Radford University. When I was in undergrad, I interviewed an engineering student at Va Tech for a project in my computer science class, so I'm familiar with some of the people who make up Hokie Nation. Plus, as a college football fan, I have respect for Virginia Tech in that they are, consistently, a good program. Unfortunately, they're in a lousy league.

But, I digress. This isn't about football (as the school and head coach Frank Beamer have shown in recent days) and it isn't about fine academics or rich tradition: this is about a tightly-knit campus that has gone through unspeakable horror and tragedy. Both my undergrad (St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, IN) and my graduate school (Notre Dame) were fairly tightly-knit campuses. Both have a strong sense of family attached to them. I couldn't imagine (and frankly, wouldn't want to) something like the massacre at Virginia Tech taking place at either institution. Truly, my heart, thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, the friends, the families and all of Hokie Nation.

Unfortunately, while we're all trying to wrap our minds around how and why such tragedies happen, there has been a lot of finger-pointing. Hindsight being what it is, we've already heard about how there could have been so much done to avoid the second shooting, where the true bloodbath took place. I, unfortunately, can't buy that the school should have been shut down, especially given that the first shooting appeared to be targeted and the result of a "domestic" dispute. Besides, if the guy was on campus anyway, he would have found more people to shoot, if that was his grand desire/scheme (as it appeared to be). I am hoping that the university president (Steeger, I think his name is) won't be forced out of office over this as it was not his fault. I heard this morning that President Steeger (and if I'm misspelling his name, I apologize) has basically spent his entire life at Virginia Tech, from student to faculty to dean to administrator. No one can love his institution more than he, and I'm certain that, despite his stoic handling of the media and the barrage of questions lobbed at him every minute, he is torn apart on the inside.

So, here's a call (albeit a modest one) for us all to unite with our thoughts and prayers, to allow the victims to heal, and for us not to forget this tragedy, but also to not wildly throw about accusations and point fingers. It is a sad day for our nation and a sadder day for Va Tech. Now, let us take the first steps toward recovery.


Chemgeek said...


Well said. Very well said.

This is so very sad. My prayers are with the Maroon and Orange.

Thanks for writing this.