Grief and anguish. What words can express our feelings at the horror visited upon our brothers and sisters at Virginia Tech this morning? We mourn with the families scarred by the loss or injury of children. Their loss is our loss. To destroy the young—and those institutions that develop the young—is to strike out at the world that we hope will be. The anger and evil that drove the massacre are daunting adversaries for all of us who work for a better world. Universities are perhaps the most vulnerable targets; they are open avenues for humanity; openness is the hallmark of the exchange of ideas. Surely the investigations to follow will tell us whether barricading Virginia Tech might have forestalled the catastrophe. I am more concerned about whether we might barricade ourselves from one another. On an equally sad occasion, I pointed out that in the midst of crisis we always have a choice: as Viktor Frankl said,

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

President Casteen of University of Virginia has issued a call for a minute of silence at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon. As this is after many of Darden’s classes end for the day, I ask everyone in the Darden Community to come together tomorrow at 9:45 a.m. for a minute of silence for losses at Virginia Tech and for a choice on behalf of courage in the face of disaster.

Posted by Robert Bruner at 04/16/2007 10:18:22 PM