Without a complete list of the deceased, Virginia Tech held a convocation in sorrow for the fallen from yesterday’s horrific act. President Bush attended after the White House reiterated the right to bear arms in the midst of the tragedy. I don’t recall him stressing American’s rights to carry box cutters the day after 9-11.
Virginia Governor Tim Kaine somehow flew back from Japan to attend today’s convocation some 28 hours after the second round of shootings in Norris Hall. Tim spoke of the surviving students, comparing their plight to Job in the Bible. The Governor took the glass half full perspective, noting Virginia Tech’s unique and remarkable community.
President Bush stressed people across the country are asking God to provide comfort for the affected. Some of those praying for comfort saw God's hand in sending planes to strike the Twin Towers. Why would that be divinely ordered and this tragedy not? The worst day of violence in history on a college campus happened on this President's shift. He did not speak to why, but highlighted sources of strength for students to persevere.
Yesterday, a member of the Hokie family turned their own. Today they deal with the aftermath. Is there anything leaders can do? First, consider hushing to honor the dead. Second, tell the truth of what happened and how America experienced its most horrific school shooting. That eventually includes important details like Mr. Cho Seung-Hui’s disturbing writings and how he obtained his deadly weapons. The Hokie family has a right to grieve deeply, then to ponder how their community will respond.
Today’s session may add to that, but let’s hope it doesn’t rush the important work to be done. May our nation learn from this community’s response to such a deeply saddening event.