Tuesday, April 17, 2007

?, !, .

It's difficult to say something and difficult not to say something about the shootings at Virginia Tech yesterday. Thirty-three dead, including at least two professors, endless pointless coverage by CNN and other news burners. Blogs and more blogs whining about gun control on both sides.

The most interesting coverage, I think, happened between students over Myspace and Faceboook and via cellphone and IM. I myself was teaching when one of my students received a text message that a shooting had happened at VTech. By the time my other class met yesterday afternoon, the number of dead had swelled from 1 to 22, and when I mentioned that number towards the end of the period, several students jumped on their phones and laptops to listen for the heartbeats of their friends and family in Blacksburg and nearby.

As someone who has been teaching in universities for about ten years now, I know that college can become a cruel crucible for many. Perhaps selfishly, I can't stop thinking about the professors killed by that student, how they chose a life of the mind and were visited ultimately by an indiscriminate blow to the body. Professor Liviu Librescu reportedly even tried to protect his students by blocking the door as the gunman approached. He survived the Holocaust but not his lecture on Monday.

Don't know really what else to say.

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