LETTER: Massacre is 'senseless loss'

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LETTER: Massacre is 'senseless loss'

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By: Clarissa Nemeth
Posted: 4/18/07

To me, a college campus is one of the best places to be on earth. A university represents a lot of great things: youth and promise, for starters. A sense of community. A devotion to a life of the mind. Personal improvement. Ambition, dedication, discipline. All kinds of respect -- respect from students who want to learn, respect from professors who are honored to be able to share their knowledge, respect of colleagues and self-respect for a job well done. And above all, a love of knowledge, learning and teaching, with the idea that these things can improve the quality of life for everyone in the world.

This is why what happened at Virginia Tech horrifies me so much. Any senseless loss of life, especially in such high numbers, is numbing and saddening. But the idea that this took place on a college campus -- especially with the shooter being a student -- is particularly difficult for me to wrap my mind around. Such a thing is in direct reproach to all the wonderful things that a university, one of the civilized world's oldest and most respected institutions, stands for.

This was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, and it happened in a community devoted to higher learning. How does a university community -- teachers, students and staff alike -- begin to recover from such a horrific turn of events, especially because the betrayal came from within?

There is already much criticism of the way the university handled itself during the crucial hours. But how much better could it have done it? How prepared could it have been for something like this? I'm certain that, had it happened here, Boston University would have not have fared much better.

University administrators do think about student safety, but they are generally not thinking about their own students going on shooting rampages. And what a horrible precedent this has set. Clearly, now they will have to start thinking about it.

I have a friend at Virginia Tech, and thankfully, she and her friends are safe. But I grieve for her, nonetheless, because of what her community will be going through in the days and months to come, particularly when the media coverage subsides and they are left to pick up the pieces on their own.

Somebody on CNN said yesterday that because of these circumstances no matter what college we are affiliated with, "Today, we are all Hokies."

My heart goes out to the friends and families of those who died, but my prayers belong to everyone affiliated with Virginia Tech. I believe that every university in the country should have its flag at half-mast tomorrow. This tragedy did not just happen to Virginia Tech. It happened to all of us, in this larger community devoted to everything that colleges and universities stand for.

Clarissa Nemeth
CFA '08

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Original Source:<a href=http://media.www.dailyfreepress.com/media/storage/paper87/news/2007/04/18/Opinion/Letter.Massacre.Is.senseless.Loss-2849549.shtml>The Daily Free Press - April 18, 2007</a>

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Clarissa Nemeth

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2007-08-14

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Sara Hood

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Matt Negrin <editor@dailyfreepress.com>

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eng

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Clarissa Nemeth, "LETTER: Massacre is &#39;senseless loss&#39;," in The April 16 Archive, Item #1058, http://april16archive.org/items/show/1058 (accessed April 21, 2014).