Another week dawns here in Washington, DC, and yet another day of unseasonably wet and cold weather. Since late last night, the wind has blown with fierce strength, shuddering my windows and the tree right outside. The rain comes and goes, more so in large splatters than a drizzle.
Wet and miserable. I keep my browser bookmarked to Accuweather.
I was listening to the radio when a breaking news alert sounded and a reporter came on the air explaining that shots had been fired, and casualties reported, at Virginia Tech. I was shocked and saddened by the news, by the closeness of the news. Virginia is just across the Potomac River.
As the tragic story unfolded, more casualties were reported. First 2, then 13, then 22. Now as I write this post, the number stands at 33. However, the number may change if those hospitalized do not make it through the night. I send my thoughts and prayers to those families affected by tragedy.
I love universities for their tranquility--I appreciate the campus grounds, the atmosphere of learning, pursuing a cause for the greater good--but this horrible event attacks the very peaceful nature of a university.
More news is emerging about the shooter, the weapons used, and possible motives on a minute by minute basis, it seems. In the days ahead there will be talk of gun control (if weapons used were illegally acquired), immigration reform (if the deceased shooter turns out be a non-U.S. citizen), and administrative preparedness and planning (if the administration is found to have acted too slowly in the face of the incident). Not to mention, a parade of copycat shooters and false alarms.
However, one light emerged from all this: I was in awe by how the students, in the midst of the tragedy, harnessed the power of the Internet to notify friends and family--and subsequently the media--about their whereabouts and status. Facebook, blogs, IM, text messenging, etc were all focused on delivering information. Why should I be surprised by their technological know-how. These kids, after all, are children of the Internet Age, an age gifted with endless possibilities but sadly shadowed by ageless malevolence and unspeakable acts.
Like Columbine and Dawson College, Virginia Tech lost something today.
about the author
- David Kemper
- I am an information professional, researcher, and writer with over eight years experience in the information services field with experience in information and communication technology.
I have a B.A. in History and a Master's in Library and Information Studies and working on a Web and Multimedia Design certificate.
I believe that empowering people with information can enrich lives and transform the world.