Monday, April 16, 2007

Blacksburg

Years ago. I remember walking through the Creswell Hall lobby and wondering why everyone was slowing down to look at the TV's. I slowed down to look at the TV's. The breaking news splayed across the bottom of the screen said "Littleton, Colorado".

Now this, and the words say "Blacksburg, Virginia."

In the end, there will be survivor's guilt, images of men with badges dragging bloodied broken bodies from classrooms, wails of young people who lost friends and parents who lost children. The talking heads will have a contest to see who can attach the most appropriate adjectives. There will be no appropriate adjectives. Politicians will offer as much as they can, which is nothing much, at this point. This group will blame one thing or the other, blame will look to be assigned. People will cry out for justice that can never done.

Most of the time, the monsters are content to take from the shadows, and we don't have to think about it, really. Sometimes they take from us loudly, forcing us to rally around our torches for a while, for the warmth.

On days like today, the monsters reach up and slap us in the face so hard all we can be is angry and rage at how helpless we are, wondering why the world just can't be a better place than it is, because sometimes all the vigilance and plans and defenses we create just aren't enough to keep the monsters away.

Sometimes all we can do is promise ourselves to spend what time we have here a little more wisely. Me? I think I'm gonna go see if my cousins are playing in their new grass.

6 comments:

Leigh C. said...

It was at that moment, when I first heard about this, that I wanted to run and find my little brother, who is off at college in upstate NY. This crap could happen anywhere, at any time.

liberalandproud said...

I was clueless about the news yesterday until I walked into Gnat's Landing for lunch and it was on all the TVs. I can't imagine how I would have reacted if something like that had happened when I was in college. Actually, since I'm teaching at CGCC now, I guess I should be looking at it from a faculty perspective. Maybe I should review the emergency procedures, just in case.

sophmom said...

The first person I thought of was my blog friend, Paula, who teaches at Columbine, then I quickly remembered our dear Jimmy, a junior engineering major at VT, a life long friend of Middle Son and recent baseball team mate of The Youngest. Then I thought, Jimmy's in my cell from last year's summer league. Then I thought of all those parents calling all those cell phones and the ones that aren't answered. Jimmy's okay. I found out mid-afternoon Monday that he was locked down in the "engineering building" (still don't know for sure what that means) but alright. "On days like today, the monsters reach up and slap us in the face so hard..." Beautiful post, Pat.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Thank goodness he was alright.

I keep thinking back to how, before Columbine, we would have bomb threats at UGA and no one would think a thing about it. They always happened around finals and they always seemed to be centered on South Campus. Life would go on as normal everywhere else, and the happy hours in downtown Athens would simply do a more brisk business than usual.

Now I'm wondering how they could possibly 'lock down' a campus the size of UGA or VT with anything resembling effectiveness.

The additional insanity today at colleges and high schools around the nation just rubs salt in this wound, and I wonder where we go from here.

S.A.W.B. said...

That's the problem with security on a campus the size of UGA or VT. You can't effectively lock down a campus that size. You can control access as much as possible, you could put up fencing and control ingress/egress somewhat more, but trying to scan everyone coming in or out of campus is near impossible.

sophmom said...

Y'all are right. It would be impossible to "lock down" the whole campus, especially given all the communters, BUT, having a text message communication system is a great idea and it needs to be implemented everywhere, pronto (I think Dillard and Xavier have already done it in NOLA). The technology is there to do it. If it had been in place and utilized, it could have made a difference in Blacksburg.