Thoughts From the Plane: Virginia Tech Shooting

April 16, 2007 at 6:44 pm 2 comments

Larry, Lindsay and I heard the news this morning from Missoula, Montana.  We got the bulk of the details from text messages and monitors in the airport bar.  I wrote a bit about it on the first plane.  Here are some quick excerpts (Not proofread!) before I board my next plane.  It was written the confirmed dead was listed as 29:

My heart breaks in many directions.  I contemplate what it’s like for the parents who sent their bright children off to study to have them killed so callously.  I can’t imagine the difficulty the survivors and just the overall student population will have returning to class.  And I mourn for the perception of our beautiful town.

No one will remember the beauty of our green mountains and trees and our stoic stone buidlings.  No one will remember the beautiful sunsets over the nearby Appalachian Mountains.  Perhaps even Virginia Tech will no longer be synomonous with “Michael Vick”

Rather, when one hears “Virginia Tech” their mind will race to recall the events of this day.

“The Deadliest On-Campus Shooting in U.S. History”

Larry, Lindsay, Ted, Jennifer and I were glued to the television in the airport bar.   Silent and somber, interrupted with the beeping of our cell phones, bearing details from home that hadn’t quite made it to CNN yet.

Larry watching news in an airport bar

Watching news from Missoula Airport.  I always wear Virginia Tech clothing when I travel.

The news doesn’t make me reluctant to return.  Rather I wish I was already home– so I can embrace Sean, pet the dogs and feel as sad as I want in the privacy of my own home.

It’s been very surreal watching the details trickle in 2000 miles away.  At moments, it can feel so real.  Other moments, it feels so distant.

There has been an advantage of being so far away.  I’ve got to witness the reaction of the country.  CNN had uninterrupted coverage.  President Bush offered his prayers to the families.  But the image that will remain with me is at the gate in Missoula Airport.  I tore my eyes away from the television briefly to look at my surroundings.  There were a number of people at the gate who also had their eyes affixed to the television.

Two men even walked up, stood underneath the television so as to hear better.

There were strangers.  These aren’t people from Virginia.  These aren’t people who attended our university.  Some of these people may not have even heard of Virginia Tech because it doesn’t have a competitive ice hockey team.  But 2300 miles away, they are sadly watching the reports.

They share our heartache, they share our disbelief, they share our pain.

Blacksburg, Virginia is not alone today.  Montana is with us.

I have to go and catch another flight.  My heart still goes out to all the affected families and to all the students and faculty who’ll have trouble resting tonight.  I wish I knew what else there was so say.  I think a sad face sums it up the best.



Entry filed under: Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech Massacre.

Blue Mountain/Poo Mountain Recreation Area Surprise Slumber Party

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sheer  |  April 18, 2007 at 5:40 am

    Actually.. virginia tech will always remind me of going around to bars dressed in drag, of a VW van full of Sun 4s and video cameras, and of many, many other memories. This is a unfortunate one to add to the list.. but it comes nowhere near eclipsing all the good memories I have of the place.

    I experience a similar thing with Blue House (Jesiahs old house) – I remember many fun times had there, bull sessions, parties.. I never saw it after the shooting, and for that I am profoundly grateful.

    Actually, its kind of sad.. when they first told me Jesiahs house was shot up and Jeremy was dead, I thought it wasnt real. I still have this odd sense of unreality about all of it – I feel sort of the same way about the VT shooting, although obviously Im nowhere near as close to the situation as you are – its like my worldview cant quite grasp that there are people who would kill, and keep killing.. so these things just are not quite real to me. Im not at all convinced that this is a healthy adaptation to the world – and in fact I suspect its a form of insanity. But it does seem to be where Ive ended up.

    I was having a discussion with a coworker today about the Cold War and MAD – and it just left me feeling lost. Ive felt intense anger in my life a few times, but its never led me to want to pick up a gun. My last girlfriend had a favorite professor gunned down over a disagreement about grades, so I know it happens in that context too…

    I have this odd idea, that if we stopped making ammo and guns readily available, less people would die. Of course, the problem with that is the government would probably abuse our civil rights in even worse ways than they already do..

    oh, I dont know the answers to anything. Im sorry it happened. Ive got no clear commentary and just a neverending stream of meaningless ascii with which to try to say that.

    (By the way, I didnt know about it until slightly earlier today – I deliberately insulate myself from world events, because I find I am happier that way. As soon as I heard, my first thoughts were of you and Tavian (another VT alum friend). It seems like even being associated temporarily with a place where something like this has happened hurts..)

    (Lucky Tav, he has no blog in which for me to leave megabytes of this stuff)

    Be well. You and your family, and friends..

    (p.s. for some reason the apostrophe key pops me out of this window…)

  • 2. Clint  |  April 18, 2007 at 7:20 am

    not Jeremy Turner, I hope.


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