In the midst of Jerusalem's destruction, Jeremiah wrote these words: "Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see. Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me . . ?" (Lamentations 1:12) I tried to look at the pictures of the 32 people killed at Virginia Tech by one single person. There were smiling freshmen who were looking forward to finishing their first year. There were serious research students doing their postgraduate studies. There were professors who started to teach recently and there was the 76 year old Liviu Librescu who survived the Holocaust and migrated to the United States. The pain of the unexpected tragedy makes all of us numb and even our questions are incoherent because pain defies logic at this moment.
Thirty-two students and faculty killed in one morning in a setting that no one expected these things to happen. The university campus is a carefree environment where we expect students to be protected and be able to enjoy all that this country has to offer. We expect them to laugh and learn, form new friendships, become enthused about their present and their future. We do not expect them to die.
Dennis Miller remarked that Liviu Librescu stared in the face of evil when he was a child and was a part of the Holocaust. He was able to survive. This week, sixty years later he stared in the face of evil as he confronted this killer in defending his students. One of the issues that we need to confront in our society is the overcoming of the mantra that all people are good and there is no evil. There is good and there is evil, and both have potential of expanding. In order for good to expand, evil has to be restricted, reduced and eliminated.
In moments like these, many think that if we would have greater surveillance on our campuses, that if we would have more police officers, that if we would have less guns, then we would be safer. Barricading ourselves is not the option. We want to live as free people, enjoying those things that are precious to us, enjoying our kids, our friends and our neighbors, but at the same time not knowing if we will be here tomorrow.
This week we will pray, we will seek God's face, asking Him to comfort those who are grieving for their sons and daughters, their husbands and wives, their mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, for their friends and mentors. We will hold their memories sacred as we work to vanquish evil wherever it appears.