April 20, 2007
The weather today was absolutely beautiful, in stark contrast to the solemn occasion of remembering the 32 students and faculty members from Virginia Tech who were murdered last Monday. The one good thing about this awful episode was that it brought out a lot of good feelings, and it heightened our awareness of the inestimable value of life. Virginia Tech is a wonderful institution, and even if there is some hesitation in the short term, I'm willing to bet that the surge of media attention to that institution will end up improving its image around the nation and around the world. At noon on Tuesday I attended a brief moment of silence ceremony at Mary Baldwin College, and for the past couple days I've been wearing a maroon and orange ribbon -- quite out of the ordinary for a Virginia Cavalier!
As for the gunman, the less said about him the better. He craved posthumous glory, with much the same narcissistic motivations as a jihad martyr, and I was disgusted that the executives at NBC were foolish enough to oblige his twisted dreams. Their poor judgment will probably inspire copycat murders in years to come, and it certainly caused far more agony to the families and friends of the victims than it was worth in terms of understanding the killer.
In the killer's native country of South Korea, many people expressed sympathy or paid respects at memorial shrines. Perhaps another side effect of the massacre will be to moderate anti-American sentiments there.