Once know for its vast history, pristine mountains, beautiful beaches and rich culture, Virginia will now be known as the site of the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history.
On Monday morning, tragedy struck the Virginia Tech campus when a gunman opened fire first in a dormitory and later in an engineering building leaving at least 32 (including the gunman) dead and more than two dozen injured.
According to USA Today:
Up until Monday, the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history took place in 1966 at the University of Texas, where Charles Whitman climbed to the 28th-floor observation deck of a clock tower and opened fire. He killed 16 people before he was gunned down by police. In the Columbine High bloodbath near Littleton, Colo., in 1999, two teenagers killed 12 fellow students and a teacher before taking their own lives.
At this time details are still sketchy. Were the two shootings, in buildings on opposite end of the campus, related? Was there truly only one gunman? Who was this shooter? What drove the gunman to do this? Why did this massacre occur? With the gunman dead, we might never truly know the truth.
As a parent of two, how do I keep my children safe? I’ve been to Virginia Tech. I’ve spent a summer on that campus. It’s a beautiful campus — a respected university for its engineering and veterinarian programs. I would’ve never questioned my children if they asked to go to Tech.
But now . . . It seems like little things in life — like going to class — aren’t simple anymore. We had Columbine. We had 9/11. Our children will not grow up in a carefree world where the worst thing they have to worry about is being called names by bullies.
I remember when I was in high school and we had a rash of drive by shootings at school events. Football games where canceled. Metal detectors were installed. Dogs were used for locker searches. I’m sure my parents were just as worried then.
As for the people at Virginia Tech and their families, I offer you my prayers and my condolences.
(photo courtesy of fourninezerodesign.co.uk)