EDITORIAL: Virginia Tech: may we now serve you?

Terror struck Virginia Tech when the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States took place on Monday, killing at least 33 and leaving more than two dozen students and faculty wounded. A tragedy of this scale comes as a shock to all, but it especially resonates with college students, faculty, administrators and their families.

The natural reaction in times of tragedy is an outpouring of grief for those harmed, quickly followed by anger at those responsible as well as for what could have been done in prevention. While this latter emotion seems to have overtaken the country and our campus in particular, the people of Blacksburg, Va., and the Virginia Tech community have bravely chosen somber reflection. At a memorial service for the victims Tuesday afternoon, Virginia Tech students, staff and faculty demonstrated a united front in their efforts to cope with their loss. In the glare of an intense media spotlight, ultimately, the community vowed to move on.

A similar sentiment was expressed by members of the Villanova community as well. Instead of anger, an outpouring of compassion and sympathy was visible throughout campus. In the midst of Greek Week, fraternities and sororities turned the building of “can castles” into a means of paying tribute to those that lost their lives in Virginia. By Tuesday afternoon, on-campus organizations had already started collecting donations for Virginia Tech families affected by the tragedy.

The sheer magnitude of Monday’s shooting will inevitably lead to changes in our day to day lives; there is no doubt about that. However, it is important to realize that our first step must be focused on healing and helping those who are most affected cope with their grief. A society is measured not by its means of retribution for a loss, but by how it takes a step forward in the midst of great tragedy.

On behalf of the Villanova community, the editorial board and staff of The Villanovan would like to express its sympathy and support to the students and staff of Virginia Tech as well as their families. The next few days, weeks and months will be crucial in our country’s road to recovery from Monday’s gruesome events. But as Virginia Tech and even members of our own community have demonstrated, what began as an enormous expression of overwhelming loss just might become our finest hour.