I don’t really have a lot to say about the Virginia Tech shootings. Now that the torrent of news has died down and the details of this atrocity slowly begin to surface, the media’s incurable posturing and sensationalizing has begun, and it just makes me tired. I’m with Justin at Radical Congruency who says “mourn with those who mourn, and stop exploiting them for publicity and our need to know.” There will be much to scrutinize and much we in higher ed will need to learn from. But not right now.
The main reaction I have toward this horrible event does not come from being a professor or someone interested in and a part of higher education, but as a dad. I can’t help but imagine if one of those students gunned down in a classroom had been my oldest daughter, fast-forwarded 18 years and studying to be an engineer. I can imagine the pride I’d feel in her if she were in that position — succeeding in a difficult subject at a good university — and all the work it takes/took on her mom’s part and mine to get her to that point, and all the work she would have done to get there and to avoid the innumerable pitfalls of adolescence and high school.
All to be snuffed out in a moment.
So the issues of security, communication, gun control, what-have-you pale in comparison now — and should do so forever — with the tremendous sense of waste and loss of so many fine young lives, studying the math and science and technology they needed to do something useful and interesting in this world. These weren’t my kids or my students, but the sympathy pains I feel as a parent and a teacher are real, and it makes me more intentional about loving my kids and my students now. Which might be one of the only bright moments of this otherwise senseless atrocity.
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