Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Virginia Tech Legal Wrangling Will Come - but Let It Wait

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Virginia Tech Legal Wrangling Will Come - but Let It Wait

Article excerpt

Beyond the tragedy and horror of 33 lost lives, several legal issues are bubbling at the edges of the Virginia Tech massacre, which may come to the surface as things return to some new definition of "normal" at the Blacksburg campus.

Some will see liability issues:

* in the way law enforcement reacted, too late to save most of the students and instructors in the second building.

* in whether the administration should have locked down the campus or warned students more strongly between the two incidents.

* in how the troubled young man responsible was able not just to obtain his weapons, but to bring them onto campus.

* in how far a college administration can or should go to remove psychologically troubled students from the overall university population.

But those are for another time, when the first massive wave of grief gives over to anger and understandable, but probably futile, attempts to make some sense of it all, so that it cannot happen again.

As I watched the 24/7 media onslaught over the past week, what amazed me, and breathtakingly so, were the reactions of the surviving students.

Stories of students, as well as professors, protecting others during the tragedy were numerous.

Keeping in mind how heartbreakingly young they are, I watched as they, almost without fail, answered question after question eloquently, composedly and honestly, turning away only when no more words would come without tears. Even when the questions were about the student who wielded the instruments that took 32 lives before he killed himself, their answers were thoughtful and respectful as they, like all of us, tried to come up with reasons they could comprehend.

Time after time, it was the students themselves who generated small vigils and memorial tributes to their absent friends. Their participation in a campus-wide event that drew thousands was inspiring.

Over the weekend, not a full week after the shootings, students on Virginia Tech's softball, golf and lacrosse teams showed up for games with other schools, some of which honored their opponents by wearing VT caps or other items. …

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