At this point, it seems petty and pointless for me to post about anything as insignificant as my weekend when there's so much death and chaos swirling around Blacksburg today. I work in an office with a number of VT alumni, and, like the rest of us, they're in shock. Several have come by my office to ask if I've heard the latest casualty figures. When I first got wind of this story around 10:00 this morning, there was 1 dead and seven injured. By lunch time I was hearing 15 dead, and recently I've heard as many as 22, including the shooter himself. I've seen nothing establishing any sort of motive yet, but I'm sure that will surface eventually. But with the shooter unable to explain his actions, it will be an imcomplete picture as best. What a loss this is for friends, family, faculty, staff, fellow students, the Blacksburg community, Virginia Tech, and really all of us. I'm not going to go on a gun-control rant here (at least until more details of the incident are available), but let me just say that it's very difficult to cause this level of damage with something like a baseball bat, a broadsword, or even a crossbow.
That said, there are lots of other places in the world where more people die every day. Like when the beltway snipers were crusing around DC in a van or when that guy shot up the Westfields police station, it always makes more of an impact when it's closer to home. It makes the tragedy more real and makes us ponder our own mortality. No one ever wakes up in the morning and expects to die pumping gas, sitting in a classroom, or walking out of a police precinct. We are confronted with loss every single day and we have to find a way to mourn those we've lost, push past it, and continue on with our lives, or else we'd all just spend our lives in a constant state of fear and paranoia, wasting each day in a locked room of 12" thick lead vaults buried 100 feet underground. And when we finally die of old age and malnutrition, certainly we will have escaped the horror of being cut down for no reason other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but we will also have escaped living. I for one choose to live, even if it's a trite and ultimately meaningless existance for anyone other than those around me.
Therefore, let it not be said that I am not petty nor pointless. Things are going well at home. The apartment is coming together. We took a trip to Home Depot and I spent a good part of Saturday and Sunday putting in light fixtures, fans, and towel bars. Thursday I was hanging shelves and moving fishes into the wee hours of morning. Friday I got some new kicks (super-ultra-on-sale $80 Skechers for $15) and an entertainment center. My plan had been to play a lot of Oblivion while Emily was out, but I spent the whole night setting up the TV area instead. Oh well. Sunday we started hanging some things on the walls, but that didn't last long. Instead we just sat on the couch and talked. We haven't done that in a long time and it was really nice to just be together and not be doing a hundred other things at once. We talked a lot about the middle east and how centuries of bloodshed could have been avoided if Jesus had been crucified and subsequently ressurected or Muhammed had ascended to heaven someplace other than Jerusalem. Certainly, there would still be quarrels over modern-day Israel dating back to tribal feuds thousands of years ago. Ultimately, I think our only conclusions were that if getting everyone to just get along was solvable by two people sitting on a sofa, we wouldn't even be discussing the matter, and that we were hungry. So we finally tried out the Coyote Grille, which was pretty yummy. Then last night I slept horribly thanks to all the wind (so much for a short winter - thanks a lot, you retarded, ugly, badger wannabe
) that sounded like my apartment was going to blow away and the subsequent dream I had about the ceiling leaking that made me have to get up out of bed at some awful hour to make sure that everything (besides the fish tank) was still dry. Also, interested parties (which probably includes you if you've made it this far) should inspect the March 2008 calendar on the sidebar and mark their own calendars accordingly. =)