Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Today at Tech

Today I tried to wrap my mind around yesterday.

I went to the Tech campus to meet with a few students. We talked a little, but nobody really had much to say.

On the way to school, I kept seeing signs about yesterday. Here's the off-campus bookstore:

Virginia Tech was a weird mix of bustle and silence. I had to park about a mile away from campus, as Blacksburg was overwhelmed with media, parents, and other assorted visitors. However, most of the school was empty.

Here's the entrance to Squires student center:

Inside the student center, there was a billboard where people wrote notes:

I pass Norris Hall, where the shootings occurred, on my way to class everyday. Yesterday, I stopped when I saw the building surrounded by police cars. Here's a few pictures of Norris:

On the way to the convocation, I passed the memorial, which was located on the drill field:

Cassell Colosseum was packed solid, and had incredibly heavy security out front:

So I went to Lane Stadium, where they set up a live feed on the gargantuan TV:

Here's Governor Tim Kaine on the big ol' TV:

And here's George the Second on the big ol' TV:

Outside the stadium, I saw a big tank:

So, anyway, that was pretty much my day. I was going to go the candlelight vigil tonight, but I just feel a little wrecked.

This afternoon, my last student checked in. He'd gone home, and hadn't checked his e-mail. Now that I know my kids are safe, I'm moving from anxiety to anger.

Most of my students have gone home, and I'm following suit. Tomorrow morning I'll be going to New York to see my wife and daughter. I might not be posting much, if at all, for the next few days. Right now, I'm just mad as hell at the University, and I need to work around that before I can be really productive again.

Thank you all for your kind words, thoughts, and prayers. They mean more than I can express.

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  • Take care of yourself. OK?

    By Blogger Lex, At April 17, 2007 at 10:12 PM  

  • Thank you for uploading your pictures.

    By Blogger holtetboards, At April 17, 2007 at 10:24 PM  

  • I'm so very glad you're okay. And so sorry for those who are not.

    Let your family restore you to yourself before you even attempt to deal with the horror that happened yesterday. It's unimaginable that this could have happened. Yet it did.

    Words fail. Go in peace.

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, At April 17, 2007 at 10:50 PM  

  • Everyone at VT - yes, all 26,000+ of you guys - are in my thoughts, and indeed the thoughts of people throughout the country and world.

    So glad you are OK. Take care of yourself.

    By Blogger Parlancheq, At April 17, 2007 at 11:36 PM  

  • It's oddly comforting to see those images of campus. It's been four years, and although I've been in the NoVA area for all that time, nothing has yet felt quite as much like home as Tech. Considering that no one I know was directly affected, I was surprised that I felt the impact of this all so strongly. I still feel like I'm being hit by one of those slow-motion punches to the gut from Rocky or something. I find myself wishing there were something I could do, something I could contribute to feel a part of the community there. For now, I'll have to be satisfied with emails, blogs, and phone calls. Take care and let us know if we can do anything--anything. (Say Hi to your ladies for me, too.)

    By Blogger William, At April 18, 2007 at 12:31 AM  

  • You are so right to be with your family right now, and out of virginia for the moment- the rage you must be feel must be incandesent. I feel now that whatever the university reasons or excuses for their actions are well beyond exonoration and the frustration the students staff and families have with them must be beyond rage. Bask in the goodness and love of your ladies and may you find the repose you need. Take care cranky - we are here when you need us *hug*

    By Blogger Judith, At April 18, 2007 at 2:15 AM  

  • You are mad at the university because a student went nuts?

    Don't get it.

    That's like being mad at US soldiers because some jihadist just blew up a bunch of kids.

    Be well, though...

    By Blogger Scott from Oregon, At April 18, 2007 at 2:53 AM  

  • We are a consistent species to be sure. Generation after generation we point to the trappings of civilization and try to convince ourselves that we are no longer the predators we used to be. Regarding reasonable, empathic people and sorry ass bastards, I think the ratio remains the same it has always been. Good people do what they’ve always done which is clean up the mess the bastards leave behind.

    By Blogger slaghammer, At April 18, 2007 at 4:31 AM  

  • Someone left a copy of The Sun on the bus this morning and I read the report about the 'weirdo' who committed this atrocity. Then I started reading about the victims and the bravery of Professor Librescu and I started crying right there on the bus - very embarrassing. I think knowing, however loosely, yourself had just magnified the impact of this event for me and I can't even begin to imagine what you are going through. New York is where you need to be right now.

    Sending love and healing.


    By Blogger Glamourpuss, At April 18, 2007 at 5:12 AM  

  • My thoughts are with you and your family. And hug George extra tight.

    By Blogger Deb, At April 18, 2007 at 6:24 AM  

  • Scott
    I dont know why your comment irked me but it did..It smacked of insensitivity my friend and If anyone had the right to be frustrated and angry at the university its the people who work and operate within its confines. I am sure crankster has every reason to feel the way he does especially since he works there. If something happened like that where I worked and the communications and security systems shoddy you bet your ass I would be enraged.

    By Blogger Judith, At April 18, 2007 at 7:43 AM  

  • Please know that I am thinking of you and your family, not to mention all the people dealing with this tragedy.

    By Blogger Mrs Pinchloaf, At April 18, 2007 at 8:32 AM  

  • Lex-
    Thank you. I'm trying!

    It's kind of weird seeing the campus in this context, isn't it.

    Leaving today. Thank you!

    Thanks--I'm trying!

    I've been trying to find something to do for two days now. I've talked to a few students, but I'm basically plumbing the depths of my own impotence. This is just going to take time.

    Thanks. Your words mean more than I can say.

    In a nutshell, the authorities learned about the first murders at 7:15 AM, yet didn't feel a need to cancel classes until 10 AM. Their justification was that this appeared to be a domestic disturbance, and that it didn't impact anyone else. What they failed to notice is that two people had been shot in one of their dorms. To put it mildly, this is the kind of thing that makes one (especially an 18-year old freshman) feel insecure and miserable. Under ANY circumstances, the day would have been a waste academically, as my students would not have been able to focus on anything but their own pain and bewilderment.

    Even apart from any lingering danger from the gunman, it was monstrously insensitive for the University to continue to have a regular school day. As it turned out, however, it also bordered on criminal negligence. To put it bluntly, if the University had cancelled classes at 7:30, nobody would have been in Norris Hall at 9:30.

    I'll write more about this in the future, but this is a consistent problem. Due to the University's intransigence, I've had to attend class in hurricanes, blizzards, and flood conditions. I've braved accumulated sleet, sheets of ice, and piles of snow. The University has knowingly endangered its students and faculty on multiple occasions. This is merely the one time that their cost analysis method of decision making actually blew up in their faces.

    Fair points. I'm feeling incredibly proud of my students, and all Tech's students, for the way that they're dealing with this. I'm surprised at the number of good, empathic people that surround me.

    One of my best friends, Christine, was very close to Professor Librescu, and my wife knew him as well. Time and again, I'm hearing how much he touched the lives of people around him. I only knew him as a friendly face that I saw on the way to class every day.

    Done and done.

    Thanks for the support!

    Mrs. Pinchloaf-
    I really appreciate the thoughts.

    By Blogger Crankster, At April 18, 2007 at 9:24 AM  

  • I am glad you are safe and so are your students. This whole event is crazy.

    By Blogger Pickled Olives, At April 18, 2007 at 9:43 AM  

  • Wishing you well. Go be with your wife and daughter!!

    By Blogger Claudia, At April 18, 2007 at 12:46 PM  

  • Scott from Oregon,

    I'm going to put this as nicely as I possibly can. And I'm doing so because I am actually taking my own advice for once.

    I don't know if you're aware of how your posts come across, and I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt until today... anyway, you're not coming across in the most positive of manners.

    Oh fuck it, I just can't be nice and subtle.

    That was a pretty asshole thing to write, and fuckin LAY OFF for a couple of days, ok?

    Jesus, dude, do you THINK about what you write before you hit "publish?"

    By Blogger misanthropster, At April 18, 2007 at 12:54 PM  

  • misanthropster, ma'am, it is so good to hear your voice again, and I am thrilled that the problem you have chosen is the very worst one we're all dealing with together. Please take good care og Crankster. Alas, I didn't do so well.

    By Blogger Monty, At April 18, 2007 at 2:22 PM  

  • My friend Michelle, the one with cancer, has a sister who is a junior at tech. She called me right away to tell me that it was okay, she was safe. I hung up the phone and cried, because it was not okay, can never be okay when bright beautiful kids die for no reason other than insanity. They are all our children and it's hard not to be angry all the time. You are in my thoughts. Hug the girls for me.

    By Blogger Spellbound, At April 18, 2007 at 2:25 PM  

  • Hi Cranky,

    Thank you for the photos. Big huge hugs all round.

    xxx Amy

    By Blogger AmyTree, At April 18, 2007 at 2:55 PM  

  • Thanks for the info, crankster. Like I said, I didn't "get it". Expressing a lack of understanding appears to be insensitive around these parts to some.

    There is a propensity to blame everything and especially those "in charge" at times like these. I questioned that propensity.

    The university made a mistake, but ultimately, a loony student made evil decisions that affected all.

    Condolences to your community, once again.

    By Blogger Scott from Oregon, At April 18, 2007 at 3:27 PM  

  • Cranks, just want you to know that Joey and I have been holding you and Misanthropster and George as well as your entire community in our hearts and thoughts. Mis was able to check in with me early Monday morning to let me know you were okay, which makes me so relieved, but I also can't imagine the range of emotions you must be feeling right now. Just know that we are thinking of you and your friends, students and colleagues.

    Jinja Out

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At April 18, 2007 at 5:05 PM  

  • Scott,

    It isn't the questioning that is insensitive, it's the timing.

    By Blogger misanthropster, At April 18, 2007 at 8:46 PM  

  • Hey there-
    It is just me, your sister. I don't really know why I am choosing this venue to tell you this, especially since I just talked to you on the phone about twenty minutes ago-- but, I really love you. You are an amazing brother, a considerate, thoughtful teacher who not only takes your student's educations to heart, but their lives as well. If I can get to New York, I will, but I really love the hell out of you and I am so thankful that you are alive. God knows what I would have done if anything happened to you. I am really sad for our small town, but is a strong community and after everything that happened this year I am always impressed with people's ability to persevere. It is funny-- weddings always tear people apart, but is funerals that bring families back together. In light of everything, I find some solace in that people will and do take care of each other when neccessary. You taught me that and I do my best to see that idea fullfilled. I love you very much and am blessed to have you as a brother. Sorry isf this is too heavy for your blog spot.

    By Blogger the Divine Vulva, At April 18, 2007 at 8:56 PM  

  • well scot, I found it incredibly strange that you 'didnt get it' wih the insensitive paltry example you gave , now I cant decipher if your sincere or just trying to dig yourself out of a hole because Ive seen your comments on this subject on various blogs,,

    By Blogger Judith, At April 19, 2007 at 1:33 AM  

  • I've watched good and innocent people die by the blocks for about four yeas now. Another 145 people were blown off the face of the earth in the last two days. More by now. Perhaps I have become a bit inured?

    "Various blogs?" Judith. Liar. One other blog about guns, which had nothing to do with what I asked crankster, and where the original post was incredibly insensitive to the kids who went through that horrendous ordeal...

    Again, crankster. My condolences to your entire community.

    By Blogger Scott from Oregon, At April 19, 2007 at 2:15 AM  

  • Scot
    you did not come across very well in your first comment and it seemed like a rhetorical question than an actual one. Yes I did read your views in Lawdogs blog and some of the points I agreed with you and I also read your blog too, so that counts as plural. Dont call me a liar, because its simply something that I am not. If I have misinterpreted something you have said and your views I am gracious enough to offer apologies. The last thing I want is this post/forum, especially on this subject , is for any bad feelings to continue to manifest. Truce?

    By Blogger Judith, At April 19, 2007 at 5:08 AM  

  • thanks for sharing the photos, crankster. They're far more meaningful than the feeding frenzy from the national media.

    Best of luck as you all try to heal from this horror.

    By Blogger Mystic Wing, At April 19, 2007 at 3:15 PM  

  • I thought Scott's original post seemed a little insensitive, but I like him also did not understand all that happened that day. I am a poor college student and do not have cable TV, and I haven't had time to get too terribly involved in this situation.

    After reading what Crankster wrote I now have an understanding of why he is upset, and I believe he is just in his feelings. I hope this doesn't make me an asshole, but rather someone with an outside view on an inside conversation.

    BTW, this is my first view of this blog and first time reading it... Crankster, when you get the time keep up the great work! I have read through some posts here and really enjoy what I have read. When you get back I for one look forward to reading what you have to say.

    By Blogger Webs, At April 19, 2007 at 4:22 PM  

  • Oh Crank. I want to thank you for sharing with us your views and photos in what must be a mind-numbing, especially difficult time.

    Warmest wishes to you and your family.

    By Blogger Lee, At April 19, 2007 at 5:07 PM  

  • To a man, every undergrad. I saw interviewed on t.v. has been intelligent and extremely well-spoken.

    Sounds like a wonderful place.

    By Blogger Matt, At April 19, 2007 at 5:19 PM  

  • judith-- truce. And I apologize for my brusque style, at times. My world is made up of rough men mostly, who don't beat around bushes.

    Crankster is an educator. He is taught and should teach the 'fading' art of simple rational thought. I believe that even in times of great duress- especially those times, rationality is important. I pound my rational mantra with a pretty clunky hammer, to be sure...Again, my deepest heartfelt to the entire community who, no doubt, have been marked by a great evil.

    By Blogger Scott from Oregon, At April 20, 2007 at 1:46 AM  

  • Crank...I'm so glad you're going to your family..that's the best place to be right now!

    By Blogger Odat, At April 20, 2007 at 10:57 AM  

  • Scot .. No hard feelings , thanks for the apology. Its so hard to comprehend the sorrow , loss and rage the community and people `around the world have felt. I just hope healing and peace come to those who need it most.

    By Blogger Judith, At April 20, 2007 at 4:20 PM  

  • Glad that you are safe. Take care and come back and post your interesting thoughts soon.

    By Blogger ramo, At April 21, 2007 at 8:31 PM  

  • Hi,

    Many condolences from the U.K. Knowing the background of this boy should have been enough grounds for fearing the safety of this person and everyone at Virginia Tech. But one could argue that his disturbed writings were the outcome of a developing mind using the creative tools of freedom to express his thoughts. Nobody should be wondering what else they should have done to prevent this tragedy. There are plenty of murder mystery writers. Should we also assume they will murder somebody one day? I very much doubt it.


    By Blogger CoralPoetry, At April 22, 2007 at 5:41 PM  

  • I just want to send a quick thanks to everyone who has posted on my blog in the past week. Many of you have called me or e-mailed to express your concern, condolences, or love. I cannot tell you how much it has meant. Even the mini-battle that has raged here displays some of the concern and thought that characterize our interactions. Lee, Monty, Claudia, Olives, Judith, Scott, Matt, Ramo, Mystic Wing, Spellbound, and all the other regular posters that I have failed to directly respond to--I cannot tell you how much your comments and concern have meant to me.

    Also, a quick thank you to my new posters--Coral, Webs, and Amy--thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I hope to see you again.



    By Blogger Crankster, At April 22, 2007 at 11:38 PM  

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