Hokie Sadness

This week something most horrible happened.  Something that could have happened anywhere at anytime to anyone.  It was very sad that this occurred on a campus that I love to be on.  A campus that my husband walked for five years while working his way through college to receive a bachelor degree in engineering.  Norris was the building where he took a lot of his classes and he lost a favorite professor, G.V. Loganathan, in Monday’s tragedy.

What have we learned from this?

That no matter how prepared you think you are – you really are not.

That no matter what difficult decisions administration must face, they will never make the right decisions fast enough to please the public.

That when you see that person who tends to be a loner, picking on them will only push them further into their own world.

Have you known anyone like Cho Seung-Hui?  Or maybe you knew an Eric Harris or a Dylan Klebold (Columbine shooters).  Maybe you were a bully.  Maybe you were their friend.  Would you ever think they were capable of this?

I had a friend from elementary school on through high school who these guys all remind me of.  He was a very odd human being to people who didn’t take enough time to get to know him.  Once you knew him, he was a friend you would never want to lose.  Looking back, reading some of the things he wrote in high school (I still have some of the binders of his writing), he was certainly capable of going over the edge and doing this.  Why he didn’t – I’m not sure.  I’d like to think that having a few friends kept him level enough.

I can’t find him now, though.  I’ve been looking for the last few years to figure out where he went to.  I’ve posted on alumni webpages and myspace trying to locate him and see what he is doing.  This makes me want to find him more and make sure he is okay.

One word of caution I will share.  My mom raised me to befriend the people others picked on.  I had plenty of weird friends growing up – people the stupid news media would call “outcasts”.  One of these outcasts took my friendship the wrong way and has never looked back.  After 15 years, I may have to get a Stalking Restraining Order.  Here is my word of caution – girls, befriend girls.  Boys, befriend those guys.

One of the reports about Cho Seung-Hui says that one of the things he did that put off other students was that he would walk up to female classmates and stare into their eyes – a little too close for comfort.  His explanation was because it was the only way for him to know “how they really felt about him”.  Guys, get off your high horse you YOU befriend the guys like him.  Really make an effort to know them and understand them.  Maybe we can prevent the next massacre that may be in the works.

Those of us entering the teaching field – read the account of Lucinda Roy, one of Cho Seung-Hui’s teachers.  A teacher who tried to get him help, though he denied accepting it.  When she felt that he was in real danger two years ago, she pulled him out of a normal classroom and began to teach him one-on-one.  I pray that I will have that spirit as a teacher – to do what it takes to help the students in my charge.

I contacted Grete, a friend of my brother’s who has become a friend.  She was at VT just last week to finalize her plans to begin a Ph.D. program there this fall.  I wanted to know how she was doing and how this may have affected her decision.  Read this:

We have all been touched in one way or another by this event.  We know someone on the campus – a student who is there now.  Or, we have been there on occasion – visiting with friends, cheering on the Hokies, and being carefree.

My prayers go out to all those affected by Monday’s events.  No college campus will be the same, for there were lessons learned.  May God grant those who lost a loved one that Peace the passes understanding find those who need it and give them strength to get through.

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