Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Monday, April 16th. I was actually home sick when I flipped on Court TV and saw a "Breaking News" headline and a caption about 30 some people being killed by a gunman at Virginia Tech. My first though was that it was some kind of fictional drama. That's a newsman's skepticism. To make sure I flipped over to CNN and was automatically hooked.

Although I was actually sick, the real life tragedy made me feel heartsick. Once again America was center stage for a tragedy that as the Tech President said was of "monumental proportions." I watched him talk about it in a live press conference. I know my media colleagues were focusing on getting the story and every bit of detail, but I felt as though they should be concentrating on the more than 30 families that were going through an unimaginable moment.

United again in tragedy we gleaned details from radio, television, newspapers, the Internet. Students were e-mailed on the Virginia Tech campus about a shooter, but not until after the damage had been done. Another Columbine, another disgruntled student, another national debate on campus security and gun control. Another nationwide wound that will eventually heal over, but leave a permanent scar.

If you went to college you'll know what I'm talking about. Even if you're years removed from being a student, when you step on a college campus memories flood back. A sense of optimism, a feeling that all you aspire to, the key to having what you want in life is within your grasp. Bang, it's gone!

One student caught the sounds of gunshots on his cell phone and became an instant correspondent for CNN. I won't forget that. Let's hope there are not any moments ahead like it. Columbine has been replaced by a new national tragedy. One that's put across by cell phones and text messaging and silent loudspeakers on the Virginia Tech campus.

We're learning more about the shooter, but let's take time to learn more about the victims and their families. Their lives meant nothing to him, they should mean something to the rest of us.


Not So Anonymous Michelle said...

I love the end of this post..."their lives meant nothing to him, they should mean something to us" I think you're completely right.

Bob Nelson - KFIZ said...

Thanks Michelle. Little did I know what a stir the video of the shooter would cause.