We should build a monument at Virginia Tech. A Monument of Excellence in Safety and Security.
A Vietnamese American tailor with two children in American colleges tracked me down today.
He had one question, “How can two students of the university be dead in a dorm and for two hours and the campus continues without notice or change?”
This man is like many I’ve spoken to. He thinks the police failed their “customers” (the students) at Virginia Tech. He said the university president needs to be replaced and American youth needs to get tough.
He is a refugee from the communists in Vietnam. He said to me, “We fought a war and lost. Then maybe most of us are in prison like 8 to 13 years. But we are still tough and work hard in our new world: America. Our experience didn’t make us weak. It made us tougher. We are all survivors.”
To me, it sounded like he was speaking to and about the “Survivors of Virginia Tech.”
He wanted to know why the students didn’t shoot back at the murderer on Monday. I told him it is a “gun free zone.”
He said, “NOT FOR THE BAD GUY.”
He said he cannot get on to the campus of his one son’s high school without being checked by an official.
I told him a high school is nothing like the vast size, large population and complexity like Virginia Tech.
He said, “Where are the men like in the movie ‘Saving Private Ryan?’ Where are the ‘Rosie the Riveters?’”
My wife had to translate most of this as Vietnamese is the first language of both.
When this guy gets excited he is better off in Vietnamese. And when I am excited I can only recite one package of Vietnamese words: “The Lord’s Prayer.”
He asked me “What has happened to the America that put a man on the moon. And haven’t you ever seen Apollo 13?”
This Vietnamese American gets most of the American side of him from Hollywood.
I have gotten a ton of email from students saying: we have SO MANY people, 26,000; and the place is SO BIG; we can never achieve a lock down.
I am ashamed to inform them that their country put a man on the moon! One even took a golf ball and his nine iron.
You CANNOT BE SUCCESSFUL AT ANYTHING when you are all brainwashed into believing I CAN’T!
I am not advocating a “Fortress Campus.” But I know there are many Universities (Like the 70,000 student University of Texas) doing a very good job of security, safety and emergency response.
I apologize for any hurt feelings in this time of mourning and grieving. But we need to move ahead and make something VERY POSITIVE come out of this horror.
I listened with great interest recently to Tom Mauser as he was interviewed on TV. Tom lost his son, Daniel, at Columbine High School eight years ago.
He was asked to give coping advice to the survivors of the tragedy of Virginia Tech.Tom was glad to give an answer. “You turn the negative into a positive. You celebrate their lives. You take joy in the joy they brought to you.”
To day I hear a father of his fallen Virginia Tech daughter say practically the same thing. “She was the perfect daughter. She probably prayed fior her assailant. We have no regrets as parents.”
Her name: Lauren Ashley McCain.Her father called her “The love of my life.”When asked if he could forgive the killer, David McCain said, “I am so sorry for him. I am so sorry for his family. I fogive him.”
I took Tom’s advice and the words of David a step further. Not only will each family that suffered a loss have a lot of “celebrating them while they were with us” to do. The greater Virginia Tech also has to find a way to not become “the place of the massacre on April 16, 2007.”
So I wrote an open letter to Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, and everyone else. I am suggesting the creation of a “University Center of Excellence on Safety, Security and Emergency Readiness.”
Let’s build a monument to those lost. Not just a monument with names on a wall, though that would certainly be appropriate.
Let’s build a Learning Center and a Center of Excellence that will become the national focal point declaring that this will never happen again.
By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
April 19, 2007