Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech Shooting

It deeply saddens me to hear about the Virginia Tech shooting. The Virginia Tech campus is located in Blacksburgh, Virginia. 32 people were killed. Sadly, our ears are so saturated with news that we can so easily hear news like that, and think to ourselves "What else is new?" Even if we make a big deal of it now, we are likely to forget about it soon, once other distractions come along. It is easy to not catch the full import of what is happening because we live in a media-saturated world and also have been desensitized to violence. However, this is no run-of-the-mill shooting, it is said to be the worst one in U.S. history. One wonders whether the fact that this happened on a day remembering the holocaust has any significance.

Cho Seung-Hui, a 23 English major, committed suicide after killing over 30 people, some students and some professors. From what I can gather, he left behind a note, his previous behavior was clearly violent and problematic, and he seems to have been planning this shooting spree for a while. He is also said to have been heavily armed, and apparently was well-trained in this sort of thing, firing over 100 rounds. Also, apparently "Ismail Ax" was written in red ink on one of his arms when he died. The term "Ismail Ax" remains rather mysterious, but the phrase "Ishmael's ax" is found in a published work titled "Ishmael: In the Depths" by Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth. The book is available in its full text on Project Gutenberg.

Amid this carnage and chaos, there is an amazing story of a 76 year old holocaust survivor named Liviu Librescu. He was also a professor at Virginia Tech. He heroically acted and saved students lives, taking bullets to save his students.

Here are three sources which give some details about Cho:

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Blogger Stephen Kingston said...

As it happens, my uncle is on faculty at Virginia Tech. He was a couple of buildings away in his office when the shootings happened - the first he knew of it was the email to evacuate.

One good news story. Two girls from his church who would have been in classes involved in the shootings overslept. Never can there have been a better reason for missing a lecture!

3:31 PM  
Blogger Mark said...


Thanks for sharing that. It is tremendous to hear that your uncle, those two girls, and others, were spared from being on the "front lines" of this tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with all who have been personally touched by this tragedy.

I agree, that certainly is one lecture that one would want to sleep through!

Sometimes in an event like this, I would imagine that knowing that you narrowly missed the danger could be life-changing.

On the other hand, as good as it would be to avoid the carnage, it still must be traumatic to know that such a horrible thing happened so close, and to ones friends and aquaintences.

5:01 PM  

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