On VA Tech… (posted 4/23/07)
May 3, 2007
Along with the rest of America, I am deeply saddened by the horrifying events that took place at Virginia Tech. It would be quite difficult for one to not feel such an abrupt and tremendous loss. As a college student, as an American and, most importantly, as a Christian, there are several things that disturbed me about this massacre.
As a student, I am very concerned about the safety of our campuses. I don’t understand how it was possible for one man to be able to kill so many people and no one stopped him. He shouldn’t have been able to make it on the campus with those weapons in the first place. During my time at Morehouse College, I heard far too many stories of robberies, shootings and killings in the Atlanta University Center area. Just a few weeks ago there was an incident at Xavier University in Louisiana in which a campus security officer pulled a gun out on a student and one of the deans advised some students who reported it to “forget what they saw.” There has been a ridiculous history of bashings, hate crimes and irrational acts of violence on our college campuses. We need to stand up and demand more security at our schools. Our primary focus should be our education. We shouldn’t have to worry about the risk of losing our lives by simply going to class, or to a study session or even to a friend’s dorm room. We need to question our administrations and challenge them to come up with better standards for our security.
As an American, I am disappointed in our media. I do understand the necessity to keep the American people knowledgeable of the most recent information about this tragedy. However, this “around-the-clock” coverage seems to be more about capturing ratings than providing pertinent information. I have seen countless interviews of people who were in no way related to the incident, but are in some way considered “experts.” This insensitive form of capitalism is not what those who were victimized deserve. This over-sensationalism is desensitizing the American people. The more we are fed this “breaking news” or “exclusive coverage,” the less we are focused on the lives lost and the families hurt. We are becoming too intrigued by the “untold story” and the “never before seen footage.” This happens all too often when America is faced with tragedy. If we continue in this pattern, soon we will be unfazed by stories such as this and that eventuality is frightening.
As a Christian, specifically as a follower of the Christ Principle of unconditional love, I am saddened by the neglect we exhibit to one another. This travesty could have possibly been avoided if we spent more time loving one another and expressing genuine concern for each other. It has become too common for one to respond to another person’s concerns by giving their own problems and concerns, as if theirs are more valid or important. We have this idea that we are the only person in the world with struggle and we ignore the struggle of others. Interestingly enough, we all hate to be ignored. This selfishness is not the example we were called to follow. Never once did Jesus say, “Well, I have my own problems. I’m facing death on a cross, so I don’t know what to tell you, blind man.” He unselfishly looked into the hearts of others and became an exemplary inspiration for the disenfranchised. When we shun the broken-spirited, they will need some way to express their pain. Unfortunately, these expressions are usually hurtful and harmful. It is our responsibility as spreaders of the Good News to live into the example set for us by Christ. We must show compassion and love for one another. We need to be cognizant when one of our fellow humans are in distress and aid them whenever and however we can. When we show compassion to others, they will be inclined to express that same compassion to those that come to them in need. If we continue in this cycle of compassion then we would have far less to fear or worry about.
As you continue on your life journey, remember that you are not alone. There are others here to build you up, and you have the same responsibility to build them up. We must be there for one another and do our best to preserve the safety of our communities. We must be more sympathetic of the grief that comes from tragedy. Prayerfully, there will be a time when we won’t have to suffer these types of losses, but not before we come together in unity with the spirit of love.
Br. Ashton J. Reynolds, OPC