Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Today, we are all Hokies...

Before now, for my generation there were two instances that stood alone in our minds...where we could instantly recall what we were doing when we heard the news; the day after Columbine, and the morning of September 11th. Now there's a third.

Monday, April 16th, 2007.

Monday, April sixteenth...two thousand seven.

That date has been emblazoned upon my brain along with "33 dead, 15 injured" ever since I got home from work on Tuesday and turned on the news. I've not been able to get my head around all of it, and my thoughts and prayers go out to anyone and everyone affected by this tragedy. Still, it really wasn't getting to me. Wasn't. Past tense. Today, I saw pictures of those killed on Tuesday, as part of a tribute video clip. I read a little about each victim; mostly just snippets about their majors and where they were from. But the pictures and little snippets of information about the victims made them suddenly incredibly real to me. I watched that video clip with a heavy heart, as pictures of the fallen flashed up one by one. A wave of sadness washed over me as I realized just how many people had died; the pictures just kept coming. Photos of people that had died for no reason at all.

As I continued to read articles related to the shootings at Virginia Tech, my sadness turned to anger. Everywhere I looked, I saw people exploiting the shootings to further their own agendas. Politicians, profiteers, and general opportunists across the nation were taking advantage of the coverage to benefit themselves, in many cases within hours of the shootings.


But as I continued to read, the anger faded a little. All over the country, people were reaching out with their words to show their support for the families and friends of the victims. Additionally, tribute videos have flooded YouTube, there are countless Facebook and MySpace groups in relation to the shootings (one with over 265,000 members; in the time it took me to write this article, the group grew by three thousand members), and the image of "VT" over a black ribbon has become ubiquitous. And it's not just United States citizens; I've read condolences and support from the world over, from as near as Canada to as far away as New Zealand.

All of this has made me realize just how much I value the people in my life, as cheesy as that sounds. I can't imagine how I'd feel if something like this were to happen to them. Hopefully I won't ever have to find out. And if you're reading this, then I hope the same for you.

- Glock