I find myself barely able to make this post. It just seems like people are going crazy. That anyone who gets a bug up their a$$ has the to right to take it out on other innocent victims and go on a killing rampage!
I was reading posts at Iraq War Today for a post I was working on. As I went back to Pam’s blog for one last bit of information I saw a new post by her about the killings at Virginia Tech this morning. I was stunned. My first reaction was that I had misread the post. I reread it. My God! It’s really true!
The largest University in my state, Virgina Tech University, just had a shooting this morning. Unconfirmed counts put the death toll at 32 with 22 more injured. Some of those are critical. The story, At Least 32 Dead After Virginia Tech University Shooting was carried by FOXNews.com. The shooter wore a vest full of clips. He went from room to room in Norris Hall, an engineering building, just opening fire and killing people.It is believed that the shooter acted alone. It is not known if the man was a student. Nor is it known if he killed himself or was killed by the police. That is being investigated.
Another shooting at the other end of the University at West Ambler Johnston, a residence hall is not supposed to be related. However there were several injuries and a death at the second location which is where the shootings initially started at about 7:15 a.m. this Monday Morning!
As this scene was being investigated for what appeared to be a domestic situation, word came in that another shooting began at about 9:11 a.m. at Norris Hall.
Thus the tragedy began to unfold!
Blacksburg, Virginia, that wonderfully quiet, beautiful college town. Home of our “Hokies!” This kind of thing doesn’t happen in a place like Blacksburg. Images of those shows I watched as a kid, “Father Knows Best,” “The Donna Reid Show,” and “Ozzie and Harriet” crept through my mind in a momentary flash. I envisioned those big old square two story type houses with the two big columns out front; and, those rectangular big old frame houses, both with a porch across the front.
In the old town proper, I bet they still have one or two of those old movie theaters, several real diners where you sit down for a meal and actually get a home cooked meal to die for. Kids still say “yes ma’am and no sir” and get out in the evening and play games like we used to do here in Richmond before we got “progress!” Men still hold the door for women and let them enter first, or hold out their chairs for them to sit down. Senior citizens and senior couples are respected. You walk down the street and everyone greets you or has a smile of acknowledgement for you!
Much of the town’s industry or economy is centered around the University. Here again, my mind reflects on an image, one I know probably isn’t entirely accurate, of the show, “Happy Days” with Blacksburg’s own version of Richie and none other than the “Fonz!”
Like Blackstone, another college town in rural Virginia, Blacksburg is one of those towns that you’d like to live in when the “rat race” becomes too much in the “big city!” People know each other. They care about and look out for each other. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that many people don’t even keep their doors locked in the day time, maybe even at night! Brent Noll, a student from Virginia Beach said it best when he said:
“Such a quiet town — nothing ever happens big here.”
But that was about to change and the impact will forever be etched in the minds of students, parents, faculty, and citizens of Blacksburg, Virginia and elsewhere across the state and nation:
Erin Sheehan was one of four people able to walk out of her 9:05 German class in room 207 Norris Hall.
“It’s a small class, about 25 people,” she said. “And I would say no more than 2 people didn’t show up, were absent. And of those of us that were in there today, only four of us walked out of that room, but two of us had been injured during the shooting,” Sheehan said.
“It seemed so strange,” Sheehan said. “Because he peaked in twice, earlier in the lesson, like he was looking for someone, somebody, before he started shooting. But then we all heard something like drilling in the walls, and someone thought they sounded like bullets. That’s when we blockaded the door to stop anyone from coming in.”
“He was just a normal looking kid, Asian, but he had on a Boy Scout type outfit. He wore a tan button up vest, and this black vest, maybe it was for ammo or something.”
“I saw bullets hit people’s body,” Sheehan said. “There was blood everywhere. People in the class were passed out, I don’t know maybe from shock from the pain. But I was one of only four that made it out of that classroom. The rest were dead or injured.” She described.
“My professor, Herr Bishop,” Sheehan said, “I’m not sure if he’s alive.”
Finally names started to trickle out:
She came to Virginia Tech from rural Rappahannock County and was majoring in animal and poultry sciences.
He came to Blacksburg from a small town outside Augusta, Ga., and was a popular leader in the Tech marching band and a resident adviser.
This year, Emily Jane Hilscher and Ryan Clark lived next door to each other on the fourth floor of West Ambler Johnston Hall — in rooms 4040 and 4042.
And yesterday morning, they may have been the first of more than 30 people murdered in a shooting event that is unparalleled in the history of U.S. colleges and universities.
President Bush said of the tragedy:
“Schools should be places of sanctuary and safety and learning. When that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom and every American community. Today, our nation grieves with those who have lost loved ones at Virginia Tech.”
Governor Kaine canceled his Asian trip and returned to Virgina. He declared a state of Emergency in Blacksburg to speed up the process of getting the local officials everything they need to conduct investigations into this crime. No further names will be released until tomorrow.
As these events unfolded throughout the day, all I could do was keep asking myself, “Why?”
If you would like to offer your condolences please go to Guest Book for Virginia Tech Shooting Victims and leave your comments. I am sure the families and loved ones of the victims would appreciate the support!
MSNBC has quite a few pictures of the chaos and rescue efforts at the college today. Since all tastefully show the emotions of the events as they unfolded I am including that link.
[credits: Credit has been given as I wrote this post except for the pictures. They were from the Va. Tech Newspaper. I added them because I feel it is important that we all see the stark emotion and fear of this tragdy. We mustnever forget what happened, lest it happen again!!]