Long live the Hokies.

April 17, 2007 at 02:39 AM · I want to send out my love to anyone who is at Virginia Tech, knows someone there, or lives in Blacksburg, VA. Many of my high school friends attend VTech and they are all thankfully safe, but I know that there are 33 people down there that are not. I hope everyone can do something to honor the students that died today tomorrow. For today, we're all Hokies.

Replies (52)

April 17, 2007 at 03:29 AM · I agree with your sentiments. I never attended Virginia Tech but have been there many times visiting family and friends who have. It was and is a wonderful school. My prayers go out to the victims and their families. Hopefully soon all the facts will be in and we can begin to try and make some sort of sense of what happened, though things like this are always senseless.

April 17, 2007 at 03:50 AM · At times like this i don't really know what to say.

April 17, 2007 at 05:14 AM · Requiescat in pace.

April 17, 2007 at 08:30 AM · In honor of those who died, I am purchasing a gun to practice using and carry with me whenever I can, so that, should I be there, I can at least try to stop the next coward who thinks he can go and slaughter unarmed civilians.

I am angry about that. What a cowardly act.

April 17, 2007 at 10:50 AM · Most sincere sorrow at this immense tragedy.

April 17, 2007 at 11:33 AM · Emily, your receipe is suitable for just one very singular situation: You live outside a country, without any in principle functioning administration. Self-governement so to speak. In more civilized areas of the world a simple law would help: Anybody met carrying a firearm in public or visibly from public and not belonging to clearly defined limited group of officers (police etc. this could be discussed) goes unconditionally to jail for two years for the first crime, to be doubled with every similar crime to follow. Why treat a person carrying a gun carrier differently than a drug dealer? I just do not get it.

I had the horrible pleasure once to listen to Mr Heston in TV where he claimed Nazi Germany with all the actrocities could not have happened if every German jew would have carried a gun. The perfect combination of insanity with madness and no idea about how governement terrorism (not just 70 years ago in Germany) functions.

If a gun serves as the tool to give you authority then you are just out of any law: an outlaw, simple as that.

So I hope, Emily, you will never end up in a situation where you will be your own law enforcement administration. That would need much more than knowing how to handle a gun, I am afraid.

FMF

April 17, 2007 at 12:11 PM · Hi,

This is indeed tragic and my thoughts go also to those families.

FMF - we have those laws here in Canada and gun control is extremely strict which did not prevent a similar incident from happening in Montréal last year.

These things always leave me puzzled at the fact that some individuals are even capable of this kind of stuff...

...

April 17, 2007 at 12:37 PM · FMF you're sounding like a blathering idiot; so it shouldn't be a surprise you don't express compassion.

Condolences.

April 17, 2007 at 12:54 PM · Citizens of "more civilized countries" have compassion on those who were lost. This tragedy is unfathomable. It was caused by one unstable individual who chose to do harm. Perhaps it would be more "civilized" to look after the unstable before such events happen.

April 17, 2007 at 01:00 PM · Jim, did you get a sound sample with my voice so you know how I sound? Yes, I admit, I have compassion but I am not sure compassion is what really helps to get to a more civilized state of nations. As long as private gun carriers are considered normal, decent people, deserving our respect, children will be brought up in a way not feeling awful and like vomiting when touching a gun. And finally: neither drug dealers nor drugs kill or damage people. It's the people who actually take the drugs through their own consumption. So with the same logic of the gun lobby, we should make sure only people who either take drugs themselves or stuff it down somebodies throat should be punished. "It's not the drugs killing the people, it's the people actually using them."

FMF

PS I'd appreciate a less sloppy language here, Jim.

April 17, 2007 at 01:15 PM · The guy was going to kill people. Would he worry that he's breaking the law carrying guns if it was made illegal?

Do we know of any common reasons for a large scale school violence like this one? I believe after Columbine, there was large funding available to adress the issue. It doesn't seem getting any better.

A real senseless tragedy for random victims.

Ihnsouk

April 17, 2007 at 01:12 PM · I started to write a message which would have put me into the midst of the gun debate starting to happen but decided against it and deleted what I had started to write. I hope we can keep this thread one of expressing sympathy for those who were killed or hurt in this tragedy. Lets start another thread for the gun debate issue.

April 17, 2007 at 02:16 PM · May I say that this has been the most horrific week for my daughter and I. On sunday, in our town someone got revenge and set a house on fire with 5 children all of which died horrifically in the blaze. Two of those children attend the same school as my daughter. Of course, there were alot of questions.

Then the V Tec school shootings happened. So senseless, and why did he wear a bullet proof vest when he was going to take his life?

My daughter attends a college for her orchestra and private lessons. We had a talk before orchestra last night.

My one hope is that in all the lives taken that day that no one suffered.. that God moves quickly.

April 17, 2007 at 02:28 PM · First, condolences to all the families and friends of the victims.

My reaction is similar to Thomas Gardner's. However one feels about the gun laws debate, this is not the time nor the place for it.

To the many v.com members in other countries, I appreciate that -- with one glaring exception -- you have not used this tragedy as a launching pad for snide and banal criticisms of the U.S.

April 17, 2007 at 03:16 PM · I second the request to not talk about gun enforcement laws here. It is not the time or the place. Start another thread about it, if you'd like, but I think this is a place of tribute to those who lost their lives and to those who lost loved ones. Thanks much.

My deepest sympathies to whoever lost loved ones. I don't know what else to say...

April 17, 2007 at 03:20 PM · My heart goes to the families and friends of the victims. May the victims rest in peace.

I agree with some of the earlier posts that it is not the time to debate law, policy, or make any premature generalizations.

April 17, 2007 at 05:36 PM · What was that old thing about how the moment "Nazi" is used in a thread, the thread is invalid?

April 17, 2007 at 05:34 PM · Sincere condolences to the family and friends of those whose lives were taken, and to anyone who is having to relive such a tragedy (for example relatives of the infant pupils of the Dunblane Primary School in Scotland). I also wish the friends and relatives of the guy who did this some peace of mind.

What a terrible waste of human life.

April 17, 2007 at 05:43 PM · My sincerest condolences to all those affected by this awful crime. I don't know about the rest of you, but when something like this happens it really makes me question my own life and realize how easily it can be taken away from me in an instant. What do I want people to remember about me if I were gone tomorrow?

April 18, 2007 at 05:24 AM · I'm still angry. And my heart hurts for the families and friends, especially those who witnessed it.

April 18, 2007 at 06:01 AM · My sincere condolences to all who were affected, including friends and family of those killed, everyone on campus, and people who are trying to figure out how the tragedy could have been prevented or made less drastic. The survivors have a difficult road to travel in the future, as they must be at or near the scene of the tragedy every day for a long time. I wish them strength and peace.

April 18, 2007 at 06:19 AM · My heart and condolences go out to those who were affected by the tragic events that took place yesterday. To the students, faculty, family, friends, and the community of VTech, my prayers and thoughts are with you. This is a horrible time for our nation, and with it, I truly believe that we will pull together and support those who have been touched by this nightmare.

Just like Emily, I am hurt and enraged that this selfish and troubled person went on a mass shooting spree with no regard for his victims. I am of South Korean descent and am ashamed that someone of my race committed this violent act.

I actually cried watching CNN last night thinking about the students and educators who were lost. The nation is indeed mourning with the rest of the VTech community, and I know in my heart that we will all get through this tough time.

(And please mr. fischer, let's not start that debate here.)

April 18, 2007 at 07:18 AM · No, I am not proceeding in this debate here. Just for the records: I wasn't the initiator introducing the idea of using private weapons for prevention of such tragedies.

FMF

April 18, 2007 at 09:16 AM · My condolences and prayers to all the family and friends of those who were lost in this horrible tragedy. I would also like to include the parents of the assailant. By all accounts, they were nice, hard-working people. Not only have they lost a son, they will be forever cursed with the images of the death and tragedy their son created on 4/16/07 as the last memories of their son.

April 18, 2007 at 11:40 AM · I also offer my deepest condolences to all affected by this and similar tragedies.

As the former Director of a university counseling center, I can tell you that this and student suicide are the kinds of events I always lived in dire fear of for our campus every day. Fortunately, we (and most schools) never experience this kind of murderous and horrific tragedy. However, it can happen anywhere and anytime; no place and no one is immune.

This terrible event once again brings to the fore many troubling and complex issues - gun control, public safety, early identification of potentially violent mental disturbance, reaction to trauma as it is happening, and Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (even for those far removed in time and place from the original event). I don't think we can settle any of these on this website.

But how can one not share the sense of shock, disbelief, profound loss, and anger. How can one not confront the fact of how meaningful is life and yet how precarious.

Regards to all.

Sandy

April 18, 2007 at 12:43 PM · "Fortunately, we (and most schools) never experience this kind of murderous and horrific tragedy."

Sandy - True, but it's becoming alarmingly more frequent. This is the third incident I heard of this academic year. There was one last summer/fall that prompted my daughter's school lock all the doors and hire a security guard. In October, the Amish school incident, and now the the most deadly. While we mourn, we could think about why. Any effort to prevent the repeat of this type of incidents may be a meaningful way to remember innocent sufferings.

Ihnsouk

April 18, 2007 at 03:24 PM · My condolences to first the families, but also to the VT community, in the wake of this senseless crime. My world revolves around my family, and the sense of wholeness has been shattered for around 33 families forever. I cannot even approach the collective trauma these families are experiencing--My mind simply will not process it.

The VT community will survive sooner or later, as did Marshall University's community. Nikki Giovanni's moving amazing call to the core of the human spirit and community began this process eloquently. Ms. Giovanni spoke during Convocation.

There are serious and probing question evolving related to both the University and Korean student that will be answered in the coming days, months and years. If these are handled judiciously and with fairness the poster's question above on how this came to be will be answered. God Bless the families who are victims, as well as the Virginia Tech Community.

April 18, 2007 at 06:31 PM · Ihnsouk:

Re: my comment ["Fortunately, we (and most schools) never experience this kind of murderous and horrific tragedy."] and your response -

"Sandy - True, but it's becoming alarmingly more frequent. This is the third incident I heard of this academic year...."

Yes, of course, but remember this - what occurred a few days ago at Virginia Tech happens every single day in Iraq, as well as other places in the world. Not that I'm suggesting that we are "lucky"; even one death or injury is one too many.

As Albert suggests, the scope is so enormous - personally and publicly - that it is hard to comprehend.

Would that we lived in a world where our worst problem would be whether we prefer Hillary Hahn's playing to that of Joshua Bell.

Sandy

April 18, 2007 at 07:50 PM · Sandy,its hardly comprable.Iraq is a country at war and America is a country t war with Iraq but not with itself.

April 18, 2007 at 08:48 PM · As said earlier, please don't turn this tragedy into a political debate. Many lives were lost, let's use this thread to mourn their passing, not to prove who's right and who's wrong. Please share your opinions at an appropriate forum.

April 19, 2007 at 03:52 AM · Let's focus on the beautiful smiles and dreams of the lost. Let's not give any air time to the misguided, they do not deserve the attention. I see dancers, musicians, professors and a whole lot of dreamers. Let their hopes and dreams live on so we always know what is important in life.

April 19, 2007 at 03:57 PM · To me, the only difference between the disturbed murderer who did this (I refuse to give him more publicity by mentioning his name) and the suicidal terrorists (in Iraq and everywhere else) is that the terrorists cloak their pathology with a rationalization of ideology. Otherwise, I'll bet their personalities are basically no different.

But, right, this should not be a political forum. The loss of life and the impact on the survivors and families of victims is unbearable and deserves all of our prayers and thoughts.

Sandy

April 19, 2007 at 02:13 PM · until the next shooting, choose how to live.

April 19, 2007 at 10:07 PM · Have you guys all heard about Prof. Liviu Librescu?? Apparently the poor guy was a Holocaust survivor, and died on Monday blocking his classroom door against the killer's entry. All his students escaped thanks to him, he saved all their lives by paying with his own. An incredibly tragic but also strangely beautiful story.

REST IN PEACE, LIVIU LIBRESCU.

April 19, 2007 at 10:25 PM · I'm sure the university will have a building named in honor of him. What a magnificant human being! What a world it would be if there were more Liviu Librescus in it!

April 19, 2007 at 11:22 PM · On the other hand, it is the very fact that people like him are so rare that makes them so special. :(

I'm going to go play "Buciumeana" from Romanian Folk Dances in memory of him.

April 19, 2007 at 11:32 PM · Bravo.

April 21, 2007 at 04:18 AM · Why do people always have to start some debate when there is a serious issue (tragedy) brought up? It's like they feel like their political opinion must be heard. When there is such a tragedy, I don't consider it a wise time to spark political controversy.

April 21, 2007 at 05:35 AM · In order to prevent a reoccurance of a tradgedy people must ask why?.Unfortunatly the answer in this case is obvious but strong political lobby prevents a soloution.

April 21, 2007 at 06:14 AM · Janet, you might, just might, wish you had a solution, but you don't have one.

Quoting Erin: "It's like they feel like their political opinion must be heard. When there is such a tragedy, I don't consider it a wise time to spark political controversy. "

April 21, 2007 at 11:37 PM · Erin,

I think it's because of the natural human instinct to ask why things happen. In an event like this, which has tremendous resonance across every level of society, it's inevitable that a political debate will turn up, and IMHO it's not always a bad thing. (I just wish people would learn tact and grace....)

April 22, 2007 at 12:29 AM · Prof. Liviu Librescu makes me think a lot. I saw a lady who knew Prof Librescu on a TV interview describing him being a true gentleman – always open the doors, etc. The reporter asked her if she thought the good mannerism was what made he did that day. The lady thought for a second and said yes.

At first, I felt a bit odd about the answer and I still don’t think we will ever know the true cause of such heroic deed. But then again, I feel this is not a bad answer, as I’m convinced that some of my loved ones and friends will do the same thing under the similar circumstance simply because being good mannered is their second nature and, in such circumstance, they couldn’t expected themselves to do otherwise. Maura, I believe there are many beautiful people like Prof. Librescu around, and in middle of sadness, I have hope in humanity and faith in what self-cultivation can achieve and what civility can transcend …

I’m playing Bach Partita B minor Allemanda in his memory.

April 22, 2007 at 01:17 AM · I think what Liviu did was more than just good manners. It was incredible fearlessness, selflessness, and greatness of heart. The kind of thing that we are only lucky enough to see a few times in any of our lives. I do not doubt that there are lots of truly good people in the world, but, it took more than just kindness and gentlemanliness (is that even a word?) to throw himself in front of a door to block the entrance of a crazed madman with a gun, knowing full well that he would almost certainly die, but saving the lives of his students. There are many good people in the world but Liviu Librescu was a truly GREAT man, and people like him really don't come along very often.

April 22, 2007 at 02:21 AM · Professor Librescu was holding the door closed.... I agree about the value of manners. I've encountered at least a few people always steady, always polite, and enjoy encountering them alot.

April 22, 2007 at 05:36 AM · Maura,

My initial response I got when I saw the interview was "It got to be more than just good manners!" But no one said the good manner was the ONLY reason either. It's worth noting though, as Al did, the value of good manners shouldn't be under-estimated. To me, good manners do not always come easily for everyone and are not always thoughtless copied behavior. Good manners may look simple and even trivial at times, but they COULD indicate that something much greater has happened in the person who displays them consistently. It can be the result of a long-term moral cultivation. I know quite a few people who are not by nature good mannered. They can be selfish and even mean if it's left to their natural disposition, but then they work very hard to do the right thing and reach certain moral standard they set for themselves. By so doing, they transcends their natural disposition and become the kind of fine human beings not only they want to be but also we all love to be with. These are the people that I have in mind and I deeply admire.

April 22, 2007 at 12:19 PM · i think the issue here is not as much about manners as it is about how one acts or reacts in extreme danger without the luxury for risk and benefit evaluation...or so it seems.

it is a fight or flight instinct for many. in the modern society, we are trained early on to stay out of harm's way. i suspect the prof came prepared. his background with the holocaust may have provided him with the inner calm and confidence for his choice of action. or maybe he was just born and raised that way. maybe to do what others consider a heroic act is his only option. i guess we will never know for sure.

on the other hand, i suppose many well mannered gentlemen would have easily buckled their knees and urinated in their pants if put in the same situation. the good manners would look merely like facades, pitiful but human. what? jumping in front of a subway train to save another? diving into freezing water to rescue another? ummmm, it is not happening...got places to go, things to do, people to meet.

but remember this polar opposite: the gunman's pre-meditation with his march into the darkness and the prof's reflex as he leaped into the path of harm and virtue.

April 22, 2007 at 01:26 PM · Whether it's a knowledge of the kind of monsters that produced the holocaust, or an instinct to protect others, or simply good manners, or a combination of all that and more, Liviu Librescu died as he lived.

Reading and listening to all that has been said about him, it is clear that everything he did - from opening a door for someone to sacrificing his life to save others - springs from the same core of inner values.

I happen to have been a member of Rotary for the past 20 years. We have a motto: "Service above self." For Liviu Librescu, this was not just a motto we can apply to him, it was a core value, a way of life.

Unfortunately, there are potential monsters all around us in our society. But there are also heroes, remarkable people who teach us not only how to die but how to live.

Long live Liviu Librescu.

April 22, 2007 at 07:45 PM · It was a core value, a way of life. Sandy, you expressed so elegantly the point that it takes me a lot more words to describe!

Thinking about Liviu Librescu, a lot of people came to my mind that I believe they will do the same thing. This is what I need to feel that people like Liviu Librescu will always be with us in very real terms -- the connection between him, his qualities and us is tangible and real. I asked my husband, for instance, a university professor whom I have no doubt will do the same thing. He told me it’ll be only thing for him to do simply because a) he is the one responsible for the class and makes the decision for such emergency, and b) he will be most close to the door of the classroom. Of course, he won't have the time to think but this will be the natural response for him. Both of us are also confident that a lot of our colleagues and our friends will do the same thing.

al ku’s comments on certain people with good manners won’t act the same way as Liviu Librescu is consistent with my earlier point that good manners are only indication of self-cultivation, but if there are types and degrees of cultivation. If it hasn’t reached to the point of become one’s second nature or as a way of life or integral part of a person, it won’t stand for extreme ‘tests’ such as this.

Maura’s comments on the fearlessness, selflessness, and greatness of heart of Liviu Librescu are correct, but again, these are praising terms what we attribute to people from 3rd person point of view. What about us? Can we discover such qualities among us so that we can understand and spread them around? I hope so and surely Liviu Librescu will be further honored if so, as he will always be part of the greatness among us as long as we exist. That’s what immortality means to me – to be part of something not only exists forever but also exists in real concret manner recognizable as such forever.

April 23, 2007 at 06:07 AM · My above comment is in no way suggesting that Liviu Librescu is ordinary like the rest of us; quite the opposite, it is an attempt to understand what is like to be an extraordinary human being, as opposed to a great superman whom can only be admired but completely unattainable by the mortals.

May 7, 2007 at 03:22 PM · On that topic...there is a petition here that someone started, to rename Norris Hall to Librescu Hall. I signed the other day, thought maybe some of you might be interested as well.

May 7, 2007 at 05:38 PM · Got it, Maura. Thanks. Sandy

PS. I've also sent the link to everyone I can think of.

May 8, 2007 at 01:09 AM · Thanks Maura, for the link. Signed and will send them to my friends and loved ones for signatures as well.

Yixi

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