Monday, April 16, 2007

Their 9/11

My heart is twisting for those affected by today's horrific VA Tech shooting, particularly the families. It's a college campus in my pending home state, and I'm staggering-- please take a moment, dear The Readers, to pray for them all... the parents who have lost a child, the administrators who must now guide the institution through this, the professors whose colleagues were ruthlessly gunned down, the students whose college experience has been forever shattered, the alumni who are now realizing that what was once a place of fond memories is now a tacky graphic on CNN and a synonym for shocking violence.

It makes me wonder what I would do if I were mid-lecture and suddenly heard gunshots. I imagine I would default to Tornado Mode-- herd all the students into a far corner of the room and place myself between them and the door. Well, maybe herding wouldn't be best, because then the classroom becomes a barrel and I've just conveniently located all the fish in the same place.

Perhaps I should keep my students spread out, and tell everybody to get on the floor behind flipped-over desks.

I guess I should barricade. The ones who survived seem to have barricaded, forced the door shut with their own hands and feet as the otherwise silent gunman shoved and fired.

Would I remember to turn the lights off?

Would that make a difference?

Would I hide or be a Todd Beamer? Could I keep from crumbling, me, who is constantly reminding her students to conduct themselves in public as though they were on a job interview? Should I start letting them have their laptops on during class so that they would receive emergency emails before it's too late?

At least I teach young adults, ROTC cadets who may have had combat training. My mother was presiding over of a roomful of young children on the day JFK was shot.

not part of my grad school curriculum at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com

14 comments:

Abby the Student said...

Oh, god. I've lived here all my life and am just as horrified as I was with 9-11. Ironically yesterday I was wishing I went to VT rather than my little CC.

Do you know what? I've been following the news and you know what those newscasters are saying, that this is worst shooting in the history of the US. 'kay, fine that's the truth, but, I hate to use this line, it's not what they are saying but how they say it. Like it's a mark of honor, and something for us to be proud of; there ought to be a sense of shame about this.

Josh The Pilot said...

My roommate is a VA Tech '06 grad. She's pretty shook up, however so far she doesn't think any of her friends who are still there are among the victims.
I thought it was tough when the Christmas Day tornado ripped through my alma mater... at least no one was killed or hurt when that happened... God Bless you, Tech...

red pill junkie said...

Horrible.

May this mindless acts of violence become so rare, that teachers don't trouble themselves with how to act on such situations.

college gal said...

Very upsetting...my extended family lives less than 20 minutes away. My younger cousin was accepted to VA Tech last year, but chose to go to the Naval Academy (Annapolis, MD) instead. Right now, I'm thanking my lucky stars that he chose the Navy...

laura in virginia said...

I know a million people who are at Tech. It seems like half of my high school heads off there. Sitting at work today (in a training class in North Carolina) was bizarre; no one in this state really knows people at tech, so while they were concerned about the events, the were not really personally worried.

Luckily, everyone I know, and everyone close to my friends and family, appears to be safe. I've been praying nonstop since about 3 pm.

Anonymous said...

I know a couple of graduates of VT but no one that is currently enrolled. However, that makes no difference. This is something that should hit hard to everyone. These were kids. They were just college kids that didn’t even have a chance to really start their life. It is heartbreaking and disturbing. I pray that the families are able to recover from this.

ShannJ said...

This is such a sad, senseless, heartbreaking tragedy. My heart, and my thoughts and prayers go out to all of them.

I keep thinking about how I would have reacted, what I would do in a situation like this. It's so sad and frightening that we have to think that way, and that it's happening more and more often nowadays.

classickelly21 said...

Abby,
You have such a point. A friend of the family was among the injured. On the local news tonight they announced, "There are 4 NJ students involved in the shooting. We don't have all the names but... Sean was ONLY shot in the face and is in stable condition after surgery." I was shocked they even had pictures or any info on him cause the family all rushed to VA. And I don't care who you are, no one is ONLY shot in the face. Any time a bullet enters someone's body it is a BIG DEAL, not a shame he didn't die to make your story better.

Sorry I had to rant cause that just pissed me off.

Anyway, I know everyone needs prayers but I ask you keep Sean in your prayers.

MB--I checked there is no clause in any teaching manual that says a teacher has to sacrifice themselves for thier students, cause at the end of the day, you still have a family and friends who want you to come home.

Josie the Teenage Reader said...

Today at my school, a boy drove in the parking lot and waved a gun at his ex-girlfriend, then sped to the nearest gas station. He called his mom to say goodbye, and then he shot himself.

I don't know why these things happen. I can't reason it out in my mind or put an order to it all, but someone at my school whom I hardly knew is gone. I feel only a fraction of the pain these VT students feel, and I am still struggling to go about my day.

God bless them all.

MB said...

Oh dear. I'm so sorry, Josie. That's never easy. I'll be sure to pray for you, for his family, and your classmates.

Jennifer said...

MB -

Your post was touching and expressed things I think a lot of Hokies are feeling. I graduated from VT in May. Two of my best friends and my brother were there - they're both alright, thank God, but I still keep waiting to hear of someone I knew who was killed.

Jennifer said...

I am a VT grad (May of 2006) and my brother and two of my best friends were there. They are all alright, but more than lives have been lost in this tragedy. Universities are hallowed ground, places of learning and community. This shooting has stripped away that innocence, leaving in its wake uncertainty and fear. I know VT will recover, slowly and painfully. I just keep praying for everyone in Blacksburg, the city of my heart and at Virginia Tech.

ATCmanDan aka the-future-brother-in-law said...

Being in the military gives one a certain perspective on life...

It's pretty cold but one of the guys in my unit made a comment that I found horrifically true..."Man that guy's a good shot!"

Then there's this A**hole who is trying to blame this on video games.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weG7A4lTGtg
I'm no "School Shootings Expert" but violent video games don't make people bad and guns don't kill people...people start out bad, and people aim weapons and pull triggers. People are the problem. Not guns and not video games. People.

Jenib said...

MB, on the day after I was born, a gunman entered the hospital and conducted similar actions only a few feet from the door where my mother was holding me. After he was done, he calmly went back to work not even two miles from where he shot and killed several people and wounded many others. The VT tragedy brought back a lot of memories for her and getting such a first hand account of what they might have gone through was just chilling.

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