Tuesday, April 17, 2007

the virginia tech massacre

Yesterday, the students of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, faced the horror of senseless tragedy.

Thirty-two students and teachers were killed by a lone gunman, a 23-year-old South Korean-born student of the school, who then took his own life.

World leaders were quick to condemn the shooting and offer thoughts and prayers on behalf of the victims and families of those involved. President Bush marked yesterday as a national "day of sadness." British Prime Minister Tony Blair sent "our sympathy and our prayers" on behalf of the British people, and Buckingham Palace said "The Queen was shocked and saddened to hear of the news of the shooting in Virginia."

Others blamed the massacre on the U.S. "gun culture."

Australian Prime Minister John Howard said the shooting underscored the problems of a U.S. “gun culture,” but the gun control debate echoed loudest across Europe, which has some of the toughest gun laws in the world.


The Times of London ran an editorial delving into the American psyche and the weak gun laws across the country.

“Why, we ask, do Americans continue to tolerate gun laws and a culture that seems to condemn thousands of innocents to death every year, when presumably, tougher restrictions, such as those in force in European countries, could at least reduce the number?”

This horrific event has touched lives across the nation and the world, including here in North Texas where many parents of Virginia Tech students left for Blacksburg. MSNBC reports that all flights to the area from DFW International Airport are sold out.

On Facebook.com, college students from around the country have shown an outpouring of support for Virginia Tech. One group on the networking site called "A tribute to those who passed at the Virginia Tech Shooting" now has nearly 180,000 members, a number that has been steadily growing and will continue to do so as students join the group and invite their friends to do the same. The group also hosts nearly 2,000 photos, mainly of the Virginia Tech logo standing in solidarity with other universities' logos next to the phrase "Today, we are all Hokies." The Hokies are the school's mascot.

You can view a streaming video of the Virginia Tech convocation here.

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