There are many things being murmured around here. We’re getting e-mails and my coworkers are hearing from people asking what would have been odd-sounding questions before Monday… Today they do not sound so odd.
In my head and heart, memories are boiling back to the top of how I felt on September 11, 2001 in the early hours when no one knew exactly what was going on and universities were considered among the targets, and communication towers seemed on the radar - and there I sat in 77 W. Canfield - right next to our big communications tower. I remember walking to the washroom around 3:00 p.m. and I said to myself, “It is OK if I go. I’m OK.”
Then back in December 1998 when Dr. Olbrot was murdered in Old Main. I had recently been talking to him about needs he had for the computer labs, assuring him we’d have everything set. He was a Tau Beta Pi, as well - he and I and many of my fellow students and his fellow faculty enjoyed events together with our National Engineering Honor Society.
I remember going to class the night we had the memorial for Dr. Olbrot in St. Andrews here on campus. Younger classmates were making jokes and saying crumby things about Dr. Olbrot like maybe he deserved it or something. They didn’t even know him - I asked them. I left the classroom and ran into our instructor, Harpreet Singh, who was running late. A Siekh, Dr. Singh has been one of my dearest friends. My respect deepened for all my professor friends that day. Friends among the graduate students in Dr. Olbrots class, who were there when this man murdered him, were stricken with the memory. It was no joking matter for them.
Some say we should move on from such things. Some say we should not dwell on such things. When the value of life becomes the door mat for some deranged soul’s actions - a person who has no scruples, that has no respect for God’s children created in His image, we must not forget. We must use it as a pivot to do something - to get something right.
We get so caught up in the daily hustle and bustle - have we forgotten how to “love one another as Christ loved us”? When the world lies wasting away without the Lord, such things as this tragedy happen. In THIS world, we are not guaranteed freedom from sorrow and grief. BUT we are charged to remember that we are the Lord’s servants. May these kinds of things ever wake us out of our stupor and remember to consider our neighbor and his condition!
Please remember the students, staff, and families of Virginia Tech in your prayers. Please remember the murderer’s family as well, and all who knew him for they, too, have a burden this day. May their healing begin and may there be just the right ones around to comfort them.