Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I have the news about the Blacksburg shooting on in the background - people trying to figure out why the young man who did the shooting did it. I watched the students at the candle light vigil, chanting "Let's go Hokies!" as if at a football rally, but with a deeper meaning, a sense of group unity and identity. They are still in shock, not in their feelings yet, most of these kids - trying to make sense of acts and losses that make no sense. I read the post of a Virginia Tech student who urges all of us not to blame police or university administration, not to look for mistakes, but simply to grieve and pray for the victims and their families. I heard the tale of the heroic professor who was a Holocaust survivor, who threw himself against the door yelling for his students to jump out the window. He bought them some time before he was killed, oddly on Holocaust Remembrance Day. I'm still horrified by photographs of bloodstained sidewalks in the April snow and the fact that the shooter chained the doors of the engineering building so no one could get out.

Bob reminded me that horrors greater than that in Blacksburg happen every day in Darfur, and in Iraq frequently. He is always able to see the bigger picture, that people here in the US who look like our kids are no more valuable than people in farther corners of the world. He is so much the big picture person, the eagle. I find myself torn away from my feelings about the Blacksburg situation by Bob's comments on the big picture. Its hard to feel everything - to be in full empathy with all suffering - not to overvalue the suffering that happens in places I've walked around people I know.

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