Today marked 4 years since 32 people were gunned down at Virginia Tech. I’ll never forget how I felt that day. The fear, the momentary relief, and the horror when the true magnitude was realized. The all-encompassing sadness I felt the first time I stood before the makeshift memorial. I’ll also never forget the pride I felt, and still feel, in our community in the days, weeks, months, and years since. When faced with extreme adversity, we stayed together and formed a united front.
Hokies United. Never forget.
Originally posted April 17, 2007
Yesterday was a very strange day.
I first found out that something was going on when my husband forwarded this email to me:
A gunman is loose on campus. Stay in buildings until further notice. Stay away from all windows.
My first thought was to not overreact — they were probably just being cautious. I loaded up a browser window with a local news site, found the story, and reloaded it every few minutes. I felt that Scott would be fine — they could lock their office door, he knew enough to stay inside when they were told.
Things were very confusing for a couple of hours. Rumors were flying around campus, reports were coming in that there were multiple victims, but only one death. You still find yourself thinking, okay, this is bad, but it’s not such a big deal.
Then, all of a sudden around noon, that number jumps from 1 to 20. And all you can think is Oh My God. This is really something.
Thankfully, my direct personal involvement ended around 12:30, when Scott called to tell me they were letting them leave campus. I knew they wouldn’t let them go if they thought there was immediate danger, especially because his office is across the drill field from Norris Hall.
But I still feel personally involved. This is our home. I’ve been a part of the Virginia Tech community for 5 years, my husband has been for 15. We chose this place as the place where we wanted to settle and raise our family. It’s a lovely, close, friendly community, and the last place you would expect something like this (of course, isn’t that what they always say?).
I feel horror and sadness and heartbreak and extremely violated. This man has destroyed something at the core of this community. I can’t express how connected everyone here is to campus. It’s rare to meet someone that doesn’t either work there or go to school there or have a child that goes to school there or just know someone who is either an employee or student. I work 50 miles away, and still half the people here are connected to VT in one way or another.
I can’t imagine being the families of those who have lost someone.
I waver between wanting to listen to the news constantly and wanting to shut it off completely.
But what I also feel now is anger. This blame game the media is playing is making me sick. I strongly feel that the administration did what they thought was best. There is absolutely no way to completely shut off this campus from the outside world. It’s a pedestrian campus, and it blends right into town. There’s a million and one ways to walk onto campus. There is absolutely no way to notify 100% of the students that there is something going on. I agree with the administration that the best plan was to let them get to their classes and then lock everything down. And a lot of people here feel the same way I do.
How dare you come into this story and blame anyone but the gunman?