Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Thoughts of VA TECH-Part II---Too Close to Home Even in Texas

Who would have thought that one's parents and their neighbors on the street would be confined to their homes from 3 am to about nearly 11 am on Tuesday morning due to threats made with a weapon.

I had no clue my parents were traumatized but safe until I called today. The street they live on was restricted until a SWAT team and some 20 cars with about 25 police convinced a 47 year old and a 29 year old to vacate their home after one of them assaulted a victim some 4 miles from the area and then confined themselves in the house not far from my parents' house.

My mother told me that the police told them to stay away from the windows and doors and if they heard any gun shots to lie on the floor and to stay in their home until told they could leave their home.

Fortunately, the standoff ended without any fatalities but my mother says she did hear some gun shots. After seeing what happened in Blacksburg on TV my elderly parents were notably scared. This was simply too close to home and for their own comfort.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


How Does One Explain the VA TECH Killings?

Just what kind of world are we living in these days?

Since 9/11 we have all been so focused on terrorism, when in reality we really need to be looking at our own society. No one can really know what was in the mind of the killer and why he would feel the need to take innocent people's lives in the process, but I can't help but try to ponder the questions we all have as a result of so many being killed without a reason. ["Being in the wrong place at the wrong time"] is perhaps one way of thinking about it but I believe there are roots that contribute to the action. I'm not suggesting that I'm some kind of psychologist, but certainly our society needs to look at its insides: What are we doing to our children, to students, to workers, to regular citizens that is making them lash out?

[Correction to this blog: Please note that the statement: "Being in the wrong place at the wrong time" was what President Bush said at the VA TECH Service for the victims. I found then as I do now that it was a stupid comment; the students were in a classroom where they normally had class. How in the world were they in the wrong place?]

War in other places certainly is disturbing and constant glorification of violence in the media is bound to have some effect on the least of us. Thank God that most of us know fiction from reality but certainly Iraq is not fiction nor the massacres in Africa and other places in the world.

What we need is a return to conversation and less violence around. The media can still report what is happening but they certainly don't have to glorify it, over and over again--repeating, repeating until most of us are sick to our stomachs.

Listening to WAMU 88.5 in Washington, DC today was refreshing in that the host focused on the lives that were lost rather than the details of how or why they were killed or the life of the killer.

Knowing that some commented that if more people had had guns on their persons then perhaps someone might have been able to stop the killer only leads me to think there is truly something "sick" about our society. How many of you would feel comfortable knowing that someone at a local restaurant, bar, or classroom might be carrying a gun who is not an "authorized" police or person to carry a gun? I can say without any hesitation that if I were to see someone carrying a gun in a restaurant, bar, or classroom who is not a police I would immediately leave the premises.

Yes, we should have the right to bear arms but there are reasonable limits and it is time for Congress to listen to Americans and not a powerful lobbying organization.

I'm extremely disturbed by the killings because like many across the country I teach for a living at a college and pray that nothing like this happens again.

My thoughts are with the families and friends of those whose lives were taken.

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