The shooting yesterday at Va. Tech won't roll out of me head until I take the time to release some of it.
My stomach dropped when the news came across my cnn.com home page. The same sick feeling I'd had when I heard of gunfire and death in an Amish schoolhouse or the hours 8 years ago this week when I sat in my living room and cried at live, local images of teenagers running to safety, hands atop their heads, past bodies on the grass at Columbine High School.
I grieve so deeply for the students and faculty. It’s hard to watch their faces and look into their eyes as they are interviewed on the news; they are absolutely haunted.
Now comes blame. Parents are calling for the resignation of President Charles Steger and the Virginia Tech Campus Police Chief. There will undoubtedly be lawsuits. Given the shooter has been identified as a Korean national, there could be racial backlash.
In times of tragedy and overwhelming shock and loss, society often turns to blame. We want someone to pay. A token to represent in physical form our grief and hope of redemption. Did victims’ families feel any relief minutes after the death of Timothy McVeigh? It's biblical, an eye for an eye. But the reality is, it means little. The healing rises (in time) from inside and no amount of "making you pay" will change it. I know this first hand.
Mistakes and miscalculations may have been made at Va. Tech, but it’s purely hindsight that provides what some feel is greater knowledge in this moment. The situation unfolded differently to the young men and women, faculty, administration and police on campus Monday morning.
After Columbine, my city was awash in purple ribbons, “Why?’ asked over and over and over. It’s human tragedy, and sadly I knew the “Why’s” would begin again with the next, even more grotesque event. Sometimes there’s no answer to “Why”. Or it’s an answer we don’t have the courage to utter.
We need peace, not blame. Compassion.