I have followed some of the news today about the massacre at Virginia Tech. The numbers of the dead grew with each new report. It is a terrible, terrible tragedy.
In the days to come our newspapers will undoubtedly be filled with stories related to the events: eyewitness accounts, police reconstructions of the events, calls to ban guns, calls to not ban guns, and, most of all, stories about the killer, whomever he was.
The study of the killer is a natural response to the question: why? Why did he do it? What drove him? How can we stop it from happening again? The news will trot out their long lines of experts, each with their own theory explaining what happened, as the news trolls through his history, looking for some clue, some missing piece, to explain everything.
This tendency is natural, but, it seems to me, misplaced. Publishing his story will lead to others reading it to identify with the killer, and to see themselves in him. This should never be encouraged. It has always disturbed me that after events such as these, and I have seen far too many events like this in the news, I know everything about the killer, and about his victims I have only a number.
We should see the victims as the innocents they were; their hopes and their dreams. They should be seen as people, and not numbers. The would be killers should see the outcome of their actions as a loss of real, individual humans, and not a body count.
My family and I pray for the victims, those who have died, those who are wounded, and those who have lost friends and family- pieces of themselves. I pray for those who consider such heinous deeds, that they relent and turn back. I pray for the soul of the killer, because my faith tells me I must. I pray for us all, and I conclude with a warning to those of you who, like me, work at an educational institution: watch your backs. We're in for a month or two of copycats.