Oh my god.
That’s all I could say.
So many times today, that’s all I could utter.
As I watched the numbers mount—2 … 20 … 33 dead—I was incredulous. This fountain of love, blood, muscle, and mucus, this body that houses my heart, it went numb.
After all, this hits close to home. I am a Virginia Tech alumnus. And it wasn’t too long ago I was dawdling on the Drillfield, a lush, green expanse of lawn overlooking gorgeous academic buildings … one of which is Norris Hall. In my memories this is a place of peace. In the history books it will be memorialized as the scene of a massacre.
At 7:15 am—before I’d even left my bed—a killer had already taken the lives of two Virginia Tech students living in the dormitories. By 9:15 am, this callous creature moved on to classrooms, claiming the lives of 30 people in Norris Hall. This man had a heart so dark, before he opened fire, he chained the doors shut so no one could escape.
The truth is he didn’t need those chains. I’d imagine that those that made it out alive will never escape. They will constantly battle the hurt, the loss, and the heartache. Bubbling in their brains’ will be a dark dichotomy—bullets and blood standing in stark relief against a beautiful Blue Ridge backdrop.
They will never forget. Neither will I.
Virginia Tech isn’t just a place where people study. It’s a place where people really learn to live. Like my bones and my breath, it’s part of me. Nestled in those rural rolling hills, it was at Virginia Tech where I found myself, failed some tests, made true friends, and fell in love.
It really hurts that this happened there.
… But these things can’t be predicted. The media will say the campus is unsafe and that the administration is irresponsible. This energy is misplaced. In a time of tragedy our focus needs to be on healing, not blaming.
If you are a student at Virginia Tech, or have experienced a loss in your family, please know you are not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of alumni whose hearts beat in unison to yours. We spent the day crying. We lost our words. We tried as we might to make sense of this terrifying tragedy, and we’re not sure if we ever will.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.