A Time to Grieve
by Susan Bunts Wachtel
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I can scarcely take in and process all of the events from last week’s shooting at Virginia Tech. I was on the phone with Robert and he asked if I had heard about the shootings. I had not since I leave for work early in the morning. While Robert was describing the story I clicked over to Fox News and was greeted with a photo of a young man’s bloodied and broken body being carried across school grounds by police.
Later when I arrived home…I turned on the news and tried to comprehend how one psychopath could murder 32 people in such a cold blooded, vicious manner. I was stunned by the murders and shocked at how the media in such a few short hours was already going down a path of blame. Not blaming the murderer…but the police because they didn’t correctly identify that the first two murders was the work of a psychopath bent on killing many more people within a couple of hours.
Front and center was Geraldo Rivera in his belligerent manner leading the pack of finger pointers. Not taking the time to think through what the police encountered on the first murder scene and what the appropriate actions should have been. Think of it…Virginia Tech has over 25,000 people. For them shut down the campus on what first appeared to the murder of 2 people in a possible domestic situation…that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Would a small town come to a stand still in that situation? No…the murder scene would be secured and police would follow up on leads and try to apprehend the murderer. This is exactly what they did in this instance.
I’m sure for the rest of their lives the police and college officials will think “if only”. They will regret their actions, with the clarity that only hindsight provides.
Something that struck me as particularly odd was when the school announced just hours after the shootings that they would have a ceremony the next day to start the healing process. The bodies weren’t even cold, some remained in the rooms where they died, and parents hadn’t yet been notified on the death of their child. And here people were talking about healing. These students and professors are dead…and we wanted to rush past our grief and heal.
One person was interviewed and made the comment that he wanted to forget about this day and go on with his life. Little did he know…he will never forget that day…till the day he dies it will be forever etched in his mind. I’d be willing to bet there will not be a day that goes by that he doesn’t remember it. You know what…that’s not a bad thing. It’s important to remember good people. Especially when those people’s lives where tragically cut short. Not by a natural disaster, nor an accident, but a purposeful, deliberate, taking of an innocent human life.
The place that had the best news and commentary on these horrible murders was the Hugh Hewitt show. He had the proper mix of focusing on the people who were murdered, examining the murderer and the media’s actions. He didn’t let the nut case, wacko conspiracy people talk. Hugh didn’t avoid talking about the murderer, but sought to bring understanding on what drove the young man to such heinous actions. Hugh struck a perfect pitch.
As ramped up as the media was from the get go…it paled in comparison to the circus that ensued after NBC released photos, videos and audio of the ranting and raving psychopath. His hatred that he used to justify his unconscionable actions was broadcast across TV and radio all over America and the world.
What in the world? Why would you ever, ever grant the last wishes of a murderer? NBC gave this sick soul the fame and voice that he wanted. The same network that fired Don Imus the prior week for his verbal assault on a girl’s college basketball team. But this time they didn’t bat an eye when they chose to assault the American public with hatred from the murderer. I can assure you…NBC will not be part of my TV viewing habits…now or in the future.
Instead of giving a murderer what he desires…how about we don’t give his name out. No video or pictures go over the airwaves. Hugh put forth the idea that instead…NBC should have typed up his statements and released it to the media. Not quite as melodramatic as watching the murderer put forth his manifesto…in person, after the fact. The video seemed strikingly familiar…and bore a resemblance to the videos made by Muslim terrorists left to be viewed after an act of terrorism in which they die.
Not only was the murderer unconscionable…but NBC was as well when they unleashed his verbal and emotional assault on the victims, parents, family, friends and the American public.
Tell me…do you think the next psychopath will be more likely to act after seeing the success of this murderer? Do you think he will want to outdo this act with something ever more horrific and spectacular?
So where exactly should our focus be? It should be on the victims. Those who were murdered and those who survived. We need to be telling tales of heroism in the midst of terror. Contrast the good, decent lives of those who were lost to the pathetic and horrific choices and life of the murderer.
The one story that takes my breath away and brings a tear to my eye is Professor Librescu who without a thought for his own safety blocked the doorway so his students could escape. He was shot five times…and died a hero. This man understood true evil from early on as he escaped the Nazi Holocaust. He didn’t hesitate to stand up in the face of evil even when it cost him his life. As a caller stated on Hugh’s show…contrast Mr. Librescu’s life with that of the murderer. Bless you Mr. Librescu…may your story be told again and again. That’s the kind of stories we need to hear about.
The New York Times…has set up a wonderful memorial to the victims at Virginia Tech. Please take the time to learn a bit about these precious souls whose lives were cut short.
We shouldn’t rush on without allowing time for grieving and even angry. Both can be healthy. Hugh read a post from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader…a comment in response to an article “Best Advice on How to Comfort a Grieving Parent”. I encourage you to read the post and this most eloquent advice from a parent who has suffered the unimaginable loss of a child. I can assure you…you will be richer for the reading. At some point in our lives…we are all in the position of having to offer comfort or receive it on the loss of a loved one.
So what do we do with this murderer? Yes we should study his life and learn what went wrong. Examine to see is there anything that could have changed the course of this young man’s life. It’s odd...but when you look at his high school picture…he looks like a sweet kid. But inside was a seething murderer in the making.
Lastly…I can’t even imagine what his parents must be feeling. How would you ever begin to cope with the knowledge that your child was responsible for the intentional and vicious murder of 32 people.
As such times we may ask why would God allow such evil? Where was God when these people were murdered? Why didn’t He do anything to stop it? The truth is we’ll never know those answers this side of heaven. To get through such times…we need to take our grief, anger, hurt and pain…pain that goes to the depths of our soul…over to God. Give it over to Him, let the Lord carry our burdens…even when we don’t understand why. Secondly…we can pray. Pray, pray, pray for the dear families who lost their child and now bear unimaginable pain. Pray that Jesus will comfort them, sustain them, uphold them and pour out His love upon them.
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