The world feels like a scary place today. All night long, we heard winds howling all around us, setting the mood for the day to come...a soundtrack for the story that was still to unfold. The weather forecast called for winds gusting up to 50 m.p.h. and Mother Nature delivered. By early this morning, our local school system decided to close school 3 hours early because children in the overflow trailers (the pc word for them is "modular" units) were not safe in this wind. 40 degrees with 20 m.p.h winds makes for a day that chills you to the bone. The wind is still screaming outside as I write.
By noon, the reports from Va Tech started to come in. At first, we grieved for two students that lost their lives to senseless violence. Soon it became apparent that the chill we felt from the north wind was nothing compared to the chill deep within as the body count grew...22 and then 32. At this writing, the count is 33, including the angry young man who chained the doors to trap his victims and then opened fire without a word...eventually, so they say right now, turning the gun on himself.
Living in Virginia, many of our local kids go to VA Tech. The emails flew all day from church members trying to remember which families had kids at VA Tech, and the emails confirming those kids safety as their frantic parents heard from them. While I don't personally know any of the kids who were injured or killed, my heart breaks as I think about the families....perhaps right down the street...who have gotten calls from the hospital in Blacksburg to tell them that their precious child has fallen prey to hate and anger and violence.
While I won't get on my soapbox (much) right now, I also believe those children are victims of ridiculous gun laws...laws that make the rest of the world wonder what we expect to happen when you can purchase a gun more easily and more quickly than you can get a driver's license or, for that matter, a fishing license. The NRA is firmly entrenched here in VA and our gun laws are laughable and, in my opinion, tragic. Maybe I'll write more about it later. The NRA ought to have to send a representative to every one of those kids' funerals and look those parents in the eye and tell THEM "guns don't kill people, people kill people." What possible reason is there for anyone to need a 9mm handgun? Hunting?? And is it such an imposition to have to wait a few days before you buy a weapon that is designed to kill people? No waiting in Virginia! Ok....maybe a tiny bit on my soapbox, but I'm done for now.
I have a friend who had surgery this morning and I've been praying for her all day. I hear that she is doing fine (praise God) but I'm sure she has spent most of today in la-la land. The thought actually crossed my mind that she didn't miss much by sleeping through today. The world will be a bit more fractured when she wakes up...a little scarier, a little more chilling a place to raise our babies. I know, I know...we have hope for a better tomorrow in Jesus Christ, but today...today, I'm feeling chilled to the bone.
UPDATE: Before I could even publish this entry to my blog, I just now (6 p.m.) got a phone call from a reporter from National Public Radio. She believes they have a name for the shooter and she says that he may be a neighbor of mine! She wanted to know if I knew him. In case she is wrong, I won't write the name here...I don't know him, even if she is right. I thought I had chills before...
7:30 UPDATE: Lady from NPR called back to say they were wrong. Never broadcasted it, but wanted me to know that the name that they asked me about is NOT the shooter. What a weird day!
I was absolutely floored by the events at Virginia Tech -- I couldn't even put what I thought was an adequate post on my blog to express how I was feeling. My youngest sister still lives there after having graduated from Tech; in fact, she lives right on the edge of campus. I don't know if she knew any of the victims, but I'm praying for her just as hard as I am everyone else in Blacksburg who was touched by this, and the families of the victims.
After reading your post, it's incredible how much we can have overwhelm us in a single day -- from weather to violence. I'm always amazed by the strength you have and which comes from your God and your faith. What wonderful gifts of the Spirit!
Posted by: Matt Rhodes | April 16, 2007 at 10:01 PM
Kelly, please pray for Erin Peterson and Rema Samaha, two Westfield graduates who are reported to have been hit at VA Tech.
After spending this last weekend at VA Tech with Daniel (an incoming fall freshman) a beautiful and peaceful campus has now turned into a horrific crime scene.
It is so sad and unbelievable.
Posted by: Lisa H | April 16, 2007 at 10:08 PM
Kelly, The news is Reema has gone home. I know you do not know her, but she was a sister in the theatre. She was in Arsenic & Old Lace at Westfield. Here is an IMG link and I am sure it will not post here....she is in white, if you can figure out how to look at this.
Posted by: Lisa H | April 16, 2007 at 10:57 PM