Monday, April 23


local korean churches held a candle light vigil for the virginia tech victims on sunday. it was very emotional for the congregations and for me. weird thing was, except for a few lines here and there, the entire thing was in korean. i didn't understand what was being said, but i could hear the emotion in the voices of the speakers, in muted cries from people in the pews, in the korean rendition of amazing grace. i cried throughout. the language of grief needs no words.

i know a few photographers who have been covering VT since the shootings. i've heard many people cry foul at the media for too much coverage, at NBC for showing the videos, at everyone for using the Korean spelling of his name or for not using the Korean spelling of his name, for pointing out what made him different, for blaming guns, for blaming parents, for blaming the university, for blaming police, for blaming his deranged, ill brain.

there have been calls for better gun laws, and campus alerts, and mental health reform, and strict immigration policy, and student screening, and limits to how many gun clips one can buy in a given week off e-Bay. i have heard the term "lock-down" more in the past week than i ever want to hear again.

and it's not that all the anger and outcry is inappropriate.
there are things that could change to help stop another tragedy of this scale. but we can't stop it all. we can't put our lives on lock-down. it seems to me that what cho needed was less protocol, less distance, less top-down bureaucracy, and more empathy, more touch, more connection with others. you can't pass a law for that. you can't demand it from school administrators or gun sellers or bullet manufacturers. you have to live it.

and for all the talk about how completely senseless these killings were, there was some rationale in his mind, however twisted. instead of dismissing that, i think we need to take from it what we can and learn something.