While most people have Easter as top of mind today, for 32 special families, today means something else. April 16 is the tenth anniversary of the shootings on the Virginia Tech campus where 32 members of the community were killed and an additional 17 injured.
For many people, Virginia Tech meant that the Columbine High School massacre wasn’t an anomaly; instead it was possible to be a victim of a mass shooting while going about ordinary business in a place perceived to be safe. It was daylight on a campus, not a protest march like at Kent State, a showdown with the FBI or in a war zone. Now people have been gunned down en masse at a movie theater, shopping mall, night club, church, holiday party and elementary school, but when Virginia Tech happened, it was big news.
Maybe this event had more of an impact on me because I was working on a campus at the time. We sent cards to the student life staff and wore maroon and gold ribbons for days. The higher education was in solidarity trying to cope together, because we realized that at any instant, this could have been us.
Unfortunately, mass shootings have become almost commonplace these days. We hear about them in the news, but don’t feel them in our hearts. As many of you celebrate life today at your Easter services, vow to take action beyond the holiday to preserve life through curbing gun violence in our country.