Remember the Hokies


Remember the Hokies


Issue Date:Tuesday April 17, 2007
Section: Sports Section
By Tim Tassa, Sports Editor

Monday morning's events make sports seem so petty, so irrelevant.

Every year there are one or two tragedies of monumental proportion that unite people and draw to mind that there is more to life than a rivalry, a goal post, a field and a coach.

And, unfortunately, April 16, when at least 32 people at Virginia Tech were killed by a deranged gunman, was one of those days. It marked the beginning of a time to reach out to the Virginia Tech community, for so many at West Virginia University - through geography, friends and family - are connected to the institution.

The day after the deadliest shooting on a college campus in United States history brings nothing but disbelief, outrage, curiosity and grief.

As we often do during times of bewilderment and mourning, we ask, "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

And still, there is no answer.

As a University that is familiar with Virginia Tech, whether on the playing field, academically or socially, it is only human to keep southwest Virginia in our thoughts just a day after such a disaster.

But the effects are much more widespread.

After the images displayed on network television, Monday's violence will be remembered just as the Kent State, University of Texas and Columbine shootings - except at an even larger level.

In addition, the events may be a catalyst for change in the way higher education is conducted nationwide. Or at least in security procedures.

For those of us sitting in large lecture halls and residing in campus dormitories, the anxiety and horror of what happened in Blacksburg, Va., doesn't seem very far.

The realization is that tragedies of this magnitude can happen on any campus, big or small. For current WVU students, sitting in class today will feel much different than it did last Tuesday.

In speaking with a few VT students on Monday, the realities of the events had yet to hit them.

By day's end it surely had.

It was certainly felt by VT's most familiar face.

"How could one person cause so many senseless deaths? I'm in shock," said head football coach Frank Beamer, according to "This is such a caring, friendly place. This is a college town. And now one person has an impact like this?"

But on a day, and by a person whose words are normally revered, his thoughts were no more telling than the voices and words of the students who called in on CNN to tell their stories.

In watching the cable network, a Virginia Tech student, Matt Waldron, was interviewed and spoke of his interactions with well-wishers and friends.

Among them: a U.S. Soldier in Iraq who ironically faces similar dangers daily.

And in watching Monday's death toll grow from 22 to 25 to 30 to 32, I wondered why the deaths in Iraq do not collect the same disbelief, outrage, curiosity and grief.

But as violence in war is unfortunately expected, bloodshed in the classroom is unimaginable.


Original Source: The Daily Athenaeum

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Tim Tassa, “Remember the Hokies,” The April 16 Archive, accessed July 25, 2024,