Thoughts From the Plane: Virginia Tech Shooting
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.
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.