Blacksburg, Virginia is one of the nicest towns you’ll ever visit. It’s nestled away in the mountain valleys of western Virginia, a four hour trip from the D.C. suburbs.
I’ve been fortunate to visit many times. I remember speaking on the Drill Field to the Virginia Tech College Democrats on a brilliant fall day in 2004. A couple weeks later, I was back for the UVA-Tech football game. One of my favorite photos has my arm wrapped around a Hokie fan who is celebrating their ACC title that day.
In April 2005, we had a debate for the Lt. Governor’s primary at the student union. Leslie, Phil and I battled it out for two hours before a packed house of Tech students. They stayed afterwards to ask more questions and wish us well. It was the best debate we had all year.
The Virginia Tech Dems gave me a maroon and gold “VT” coffee mug as a keepsake from that debate. Oddly, amongst all the paraphenalia I discarded after 2005, I kept the mug and use it often. It reminds me of my friends in western Virginia and Blacksburg especially.
Life will go on in Blacksburg and Virginia after April 16th, 2007, but it will never be the same. What happened yesterday was a premeditated criminal act so heinous in its effect and so extraordinary in its scope that there are hardly words to describe it. Even today (twenty four hours later), details are still just trickling in.
There will be months, if not years, to deconstruct this tragedy. Doubtless, it will be a focal point of many conversations regarding public safety, higher education and even mental illness (which seems the only rational explanation for the murders).
Those discussions will need to take place at a later time, once we have disengaged from the emotions of yesterday and actually learned about the killer, his motive and how he committed this mass murder.
I close this post with the motto of Virginia Polytechnic University …
“Ut Prosim” which means “So I may serve”