- Posted April 16, 2014 by
What I Learned From the Virginia Tech Shooting on April 16, 2007
Prior to 16 April 2007, I only heard or read about shooting massacres in television news report or in newspapers. This shooting was the first time in my life I experienced such a traumatizing incident so closely. I realized how horrific it is to lose so many dear friends and faculty members at once. Time stood still for me for quite some time and made me realize how lucky I was to be alive, especially because I was supposed to be in the building where the shooting occurred at 10 am which is just 25 minutes after the shooting ended. I was supposed to be in the building with my advisor and three other students for our weekly meeting at 10 am. Unfortunately, my advisor and two other students were not very lucky as they were already in the building while the shooting was taking place and hence had to perish.
Experiencing the shooting struck me, shook me and made me learn many things. The world was a beautiful place for me prior to this incident but after it happened I learned that we are not even safe at holy places such as educational institutions. However, a positive thing that I learned is that unity is essential to stay strong, overcome and prevail difficult times and Virginia Tech had plenty of it. The university was a big family where everyone helped each other out to prevail the difficult time regardless of their affiliation with the institution, race, ethnicity, religion or any other characteristics that would diversify them. There was sorrow and grief in the atmosphere but the warmth that was created from the help, support and unity made sure that everyone stayed strong. The support that people from all over America and all over the world gave us during this hard time was overwhelming. This is why, even though I was far away from home, I never felt alone.
Regarding the shooting it would not be fair to point the finger at the authority of Virginia Tech or it may not also be even wise to blame the parents of the shooter but rather the blame should be shouldered by the society as a whole as we failed to understand that he lacked help and support and we may have even isolated him and may never have helped him to be one of ‘us’ even though he was staying with us in the same area.
Sometimes as humans we become so self-centered that we do not even realize what the person next to us is feeling or doing or going through. If we always help each other out and try to understand how another person is feeling then we may be able to avoid such undesirable incidents. As humans it is our tendency to hang out with people who share the same views as us without realizing that in the process we may be unintentionally isolating some people. Especially we have to appreciate that in this globalized world there are people from many different cultures with many different views and many different family backgrounds living in the same area and therefore not everyone may be feeling the same way as we are and may not have the same view as we have. It is not possible for any institution or organization to keep track of everyone’s feeling as they surely do not have the capacity to do that but as a society we definitely have the capacity to do that. As members of the society we should all try to find out how everyone else is feeling or doing or going through or if they need help with adjusting to the new place. This will make everyone to feel that they are part of the society and not ‘aliens’ and most importantly help to avoid such tragic incidents.
May the innocent souls rest in peace.