Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Remembrance and a Question: "Have We Gone Numb?"

Marking the 17th anniversary of the horrific and excruciating ordeal of Virginia Tech University.

Many, perhaps, have forgotten this day. In the past 17 years, there has been so much more violence: so many school shootings, public venue shootings, and innocent people dying, bleeding and dying at random, people dying because they were in “the-wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time,” because violence came, unbidden, to a place where they should have been safe, and with an explosion of bloodshed, stole their lives from them. 

This is not a television show. This is the reality of our society—the society we are making for ourselves out of our anger and negligence, our undisciplined cravings and the brutality of our relationships, our neglect of the defenseless, our crass ignorance, our cowardice. And beyond the intolerable atrocities that shock us on the news, there is a whole hidden world of assault (hiding in plain sight) where many innocent human persons—our brothers and sisters—are attacked, brutalized, wounded again and again, or killed and discarded. This is what happens in a society that is too busy, too distracted, too self-absorbed, where people don’t want to see the pain beyond the media spectacle and the ugly curiosity it generates. This is what happens in a society where hearts have grown small, where love has grown cold.

Are we becoming NUMB? Have we made ourselves comfortable with a society full of murder and violence and fear—a "culture of death" that places so little value on the inalienable dignity of every human person? I must examine my own conscience on this question. It would do us all good to be "unsettled" (and more) by the killing that goes on and on and on… 

But #VirginiaTech, I will never forget your sorrows. For the last 17 years, your beautiful and inspiring commemorations of the 32 Hokies who were gunned down on this day help bring consolation and healing. I join you in remembering those who died, those who survived, and all their loved ones, and all my Hokie peeps today.

๐Ÿงก๐ŸคŽ๐Ÿ’” #VirginiaTechHokies #RemembranceDay