I was browsing through my Twitter feed when I saw the news early this morning.
“Breaking News: gunman reportedly sighted on Virginia Tech campus. Lockdown in effect.”
Oh no. Not again.
It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since Cho Seung-hui took the lives of over 30 Virginia Tech students and faculty in 2007 — including his own, tortured soul. The senseless rampage ripped open the Blacksburg community, and the scar tissue is still visible today.
It was a tragedy that, for a time, went beyond words or comprehension. In many ways it still does. The loss of such young and promising life was an unfair nightmare of which there was, and is, no wake.
And for five terrifying hours today, the threat of that nightmare almost returned.
Almost. Thank God.
The campus lockdown, which went into effect at 9:37 a.m. this morning, was lifted at 2:42 p.m. Police never found the alleged lone gunman. Perhaps there was none; maybe it was nothing more than a double-take gone wrong. I hope that’s the case.
But in any case, the school was far more prepared this time around. There was protocol in a chaotic situation. Everyone knew to stay where they were and to seek shelter, including the school’s football team. Virginia Tech was set to start fall camp today. That was delayed by one hour.
“I thought everything went pretty smooth to be honest with you,” Frank Beamer said after practice. “We just moved things back an hour. The kids adapted to the deal. I thought everything went good.”
Everything did go well. No students were harmed, and while that all-t0-familiar fear is likely once again in the front of every student’s mind, they are safe for another day.
Safe to continue their education. Safe to pursue a life of happiness and fulfillment. All because the university did exactly what it set out to do four years ago after that unimaginable tragedy.
A tragedy no one should ever experience again.