Tuesday, April 17, 2007

4.17.07 Virginia Tech Massacre

I went to Virginia Tech today. What a nightmare. I was struck as I pulled on to campus at how normal everything seemed. If I didn’t know what happened, I would not have known that anything was wrong. And yet how quickly that changed. Once I was on the main portion of campus, there were cops everywhere. An ambulance pulled on to campus with its lights flashing, and I can only imagine was there to remove the remaining bodies. As I walked along towards the makeshift memorial on the Drillfield, there were media everywhere you looked. There were small groups of people all over with cameras and microphones, trying to get an idea of what the students and community were thinking and feeling on this, the day after the attack. I saw media buses from Indiana, North Carolina, Colorado. And as I stood at the memorial, a newsman stood there and spoke to his camera – in German, I think. There are people here from all over the world. Tulips stood, lifting their happy faces, right next to flowers that had been trampled. What an irony. I walked along the sidewalk in front of Norris Hall and was shocked and horrified as I saw pools of dried blood streaming down the sidewalk towards the road. And then as I continued, I could see where that person who had been laying in that pool of blood on the sidewalk either walked or was carried, for I followed the trail of the many drops of blood. I looked at the ground as I walked and saw many many discarded plastic gloves still on the ground. The campus is anything be put together. It is still in a state of chaos. I watched the investigators coming and going out of Norris Hall and was sickened as I thought of what had happened in this location only a day before. I continued walking and a woman ran to embrace another woman, weeping. She said she still hadn’t heard about her son. Sadly, my first thought was that if she hasn’t heard from him yet, he’s probably dead. She said that she was just going to be sick until she heard for sure. And then she launched into stories and with a faint smile of remembrance and a catch in her throat, I heard, “I remember when I was pregnant…and then when he was 2…when he was in high school he…” It made me feel physically sick myself, and I don’t even know the kid. I feel such pain for these families. I feel such sorrow and compassion for those who have been so directly affected by this. And I feel so helpless. Please be praying for this community. It is broken, and today is beginning a long road to healing. I did take a few pictures and have posted them. I didn’t take pictures of some of the more sensitive issues, as I felt it just wasn’t quite respectful. But those images will forever be in my mind.

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