Slowly coming out of the fog of grief and prayer for the tragedy at Virginia Tech. It's the sort of thing that defies words and threatens to overwhelm the mind and senses.

I didn't know anyone personally who was killed or had family killed at VT, but I'm on enough listserves to be affected beyond the emotions generated by just glances at the various 'net news services I manage between coding and editing at work. I have been tied in one way or another to universities for over 20 years - I've been a student, an RA, an instructor, a freshman, a senior, a grad student. I've been both drawn to and repelled by the stories about each person's life cut short so violently.

There is grief along the same listserves, since most of us are in Literature and/or Cultural studies, grief mixed with fear trembling along bloodlines. Will there be backlash? Will it be like the LA Riots again? How will this affect immigration laws/policies under review? What could happen that we couldn't possible forsee any more than this event could have been accurately predicted?

There comes a point of choice, I think, at least for me, on how to respond - continued fear/anger, numbness/BAU, refocus on larger world issues, focus on prevention - I'm trying to get back to what I center on best, heritage and community, finding ways to create and link support systems based on mutual trust and respect.


In my corner of the world, plans are set for my trip to San Francisco next week. I'm hoping to see lots of po-bloggers at various events, as well as a few of the city sights.

I'll be checking out Eileen's Reading at the kari edwards memorial tribute on Friday (Alaska Air willing), play the tourist on Saturday, then do this gig on Sunday:

Celebrating the Launch of Achiote Seeds

When: April 29, 2007 (Sunday), 3pm
Where: Canessa Park Gallery, 708 Montgomery (x street Columbus)

Featured writers:
Barbara Jane Reyes
Oscar Bermeo
Todd Melicker
Alfred Arteaga (planned)
Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor

Cost: $3-5 donation requested


Snickering Corpses said...

Don't forget, in looking at the future, that there is one Who holds the future in His hands, and Who is always good. Without exception, without mistake, forever good. I know you do know this, but sometimes also we need reminders. That's the center of your support net is the One Who promised to never leave nor forsake.

I do have to ask...who is saying that there will be a backlash on racial lines? So far as I've seen, everyone involved is treating this as the sort of monstrosity that reflects not upon any ethnicity but upon his own self and the depravity to which sin can bring a human being.

That he was Korean by birth is mentioned as a piece of information, but I've seen no attempts to blame this in any way upon his ethnicity. Is anyone trying to do that out west?

Grief and prayer...both honest and reasonable reactions. Both for the victims' families, and for the family of the shooter. I can't begin to imagine waking up to know that your son will long be remembered for such a heinous action.

Anger is a hard one...it depends greatly upon where the anger is directed, and whether it is allowed to fester into bitterness or hate. I can't be angry at the shooter. He's dead. He's already experiencing an eternal punishment in hell far beyond anything we could devise for him here. God is always just, even when His justice waits for a time. Always one of two bears the ultimate penalty of each sin...either the one who sins for the unsaved, or Christ for the Christian.

I have felt anger towards the media, for once again meeting a disaster with a rush to report any little sniff of something they might manage to scoop the other news sources on, and in the process reporting much that wasn't true, and other things that were ill considered in their impact. As a small example, the station that reported a first name of one of the dead, before they even had a last name. How many people out of 20,000 on a campus do we think probably have the same first name? How many parents' hearts do we think lept to their throat at a name that could have been their child, with nothing to tell them it was or wasn't? Anger, too, for those who try to jump on this and make their own political gains while it's fresh. Cheers for the Virginia governor who expressed his contempt for those.

Even in tragedy, blessings. A friend of a friend is right now recovering from a heart transplant...the heart donated from one of the victims of this tragedy. Courage personified, in the professor who blocked the door with his own body so his students could escape...in the students and faculty who carried wounded out before the medics could reach the scene, risking their own lives to evacuate those who couldn't escape on their own. Even in a tragedy, there are things to be proud of, as fellow Americans and fellow humans.

In any tragedy, the horror is never the whole story.

Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor said...

It is because I know of Whom you speak that I have hope still, to not give in to crushing despair.

As to "who is saying that there will be a backlash on racial lines?" - who? as I said, grief mixed with fear trembling through listserves. Are 'they' right? only time will tell. It is not so much about a certainty but a simple question "Will there be backlash?" I have hope there will not be and the early returns are positive.

Here's my challenge to you, though - What is it about our present society that would bring up the question 'Will there be a backlash?' I think it is more important to ask why this question was/is on so many minds. Can you find reasons in recent US history that might lead a person of color to believe they might be the victim of backlash for seemingly unreasonable, or even reasonable, causes?

Some of the discussion is tracked here: http://home.hamptonroads.com/blog/index.cfm?uid=45

As for my litany of possible responses - these were drawn from the many messages I have had cross my computer, each borne of a different person's experience and emotional proximity to the event. Grief and prayer were my first responses, that along with stunned silence.

And I agree, many things have been made good from the tragedy, from the heroism of individuals faced with life and death, split second decisions (the professor you speak of was a colleague of the Society I work for), to the decisions made by grieving families to reach out in reassurance and comfort, to the examination of how fragile life is, how wondrous a gift.