None of this is "headlines" to me; it is all personal.
Norris Hall, which is only a building on a map to most, is the
building with the disgusting restrooms and pink, powdery soap
to me. The hospital the wounded were taken to is where I've had
my blood drawn and my brother was born. The people being interviewed
are people I know well.
names of the victims are family friends, old lacrosse coaches,
and casual acquaintances that I have met. Professor G.V. Loganathan
and his family lived in my neighborhood. Their daughter could
never get onto the bus without her mother standing on the driveway
and waving good-bye.
The past two nights, it has been difficult for my friends and
me to sleep. We all picture the frightened faces of the people
we know. Did they realize it was their end?
There is no eloquent way to say this, but it hurts.
And now I am looking toward that community for the support and
strength to recover from such a blow. While much of the outside
world seems to be complaining about police responses and the disturbing
writing of the killer, Blacksburg has questions: What now? How
can we better support each other? What can we do?
As Nikki Giovanni, a famous poet from Blacksburg who was also
mentioned in Kanye West's song "Hey Mama," said in a speech at
Tuesday's convocation: "We do not understand this tragedy. We
know we did nothing to deserve it, but neither did a child in
Africa dying of AIDS."
Although the pain is intense and the 24-hour media coverage would
like to make viewers think otherwise, the issues of the world
do not stop in Blacksburg on that one fateful day. And neither
can we. We must press forward and create good out of this evil.
I am not done crying and I am not done mourning the loss of those
I knew and the innocence of my town, but those emotions will now
have to serve the dual purpose of being my inspiration to act.
I would like to commit myself to furthering anti-gun legislation.
No student should ever feel the need to jump out of a window because
someone irresponsible is toting a gun in their face.
The well wishes have been greatly appreciated and the support
I have personally received and Blacksburg has seen has been phenomenal.
Virginia Tech will prevail. It's what Hokies do.
Dana Al-Qadi lived in Blacksburg, Va., home to Virginia Tech University,
for 15 years before moving to central Illinois.
is now a senior at University Laboratory High School in Urbana,
Ill., and a senior editor at the school's newspaper, The
Online Gargoyle, where a version of this story first appeared.
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