Five years ago, today, I still recall that moment when I was fixed on the TV watching the breaking news about the Virginia Tech Massacre on a cold Monday morning. I remember sending a text message to my son who was attending college at UVA (University of Virginia). I informed him about the ongoing incident and told him to call a number of his friends and former high school classmates who, at that time, were studying at Virginia Tech. I assumed he was having a class at that time for he didn't respond to my text at once. It was only after an hour or two that my son called me, letting me know that his friends were okay.
That sad news of the day dominated media coverage all over the United States and the world. According to Wikipedia, the Virginia Tech massacre is the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in U.S. history. it was also the worst act of mass murder on college students since Syracuse University lost 36 students in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
The two separate shooting attacks, in two separate school buildings, by Seung-Hui Cho, himself a Virginia Tech student, yielded 32 people dead and 25 others wounded, before killing himself. Per Wikipedia, the attacks received international media coverage and drew widespread criticism of U.S. laws and culture. It sparked intense debate about gun violence, gun laws, gaps in the U.S. system for treating mental health issues, the perpetrator's state of mind, the responsibility of college administrators, privacy laws, journalism ethics, and other issues. On the other hand, it also led to the passage of the first major federal gun control measure in more than 13 years. The law strengthening the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was signed by then President George W. Bush on January 5, 2008.
I remember, on a Virginia Tech Convocation, aired on TV, commemorating and honoring the lives of the victims on April 17, 2007, American poet and distinguished Virginia Tech English professor, Nikki Giovanni, delivered a passionate chant poem "We are Virginia Tech." Here's a part of the poem, "We are Virginia Tech/ We are sad today/ And we will be sad for quite a while/ We are not moving on/ We are embracing our mourning/ We are Virginia Tech/ We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly/ We are brave enough to know we must laugh again/ We are Virginia Tech..."
May the souls of the faithful departed brothers and sisters rest in peace. Amen. And to the families and friends and relatives of the victims, may they all find comfort and consolation, and peace of mind. May God give them the strength and courage, and the wisdom to move on with their lives. Amen.
Until next time around, friends. Thank you for your time. Take care and have a blessed and wonderful day, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 16April2012