Reflections on a Tragedy


The bloodiest incidence of campus violence occurred at Virginia Technical University in the U.S. on Monday. A Korean-born student suspected of mental problems shot and killed over 30 people before turning the gun on himself. Reports on this student named Cho have been appearing continuously in the news media. We know that he was a freakish loner consumed with anger. Yet from amidst this campus shooting that shocked the world emerged a touching story. While the shooter was in his murderous rampage in a faculty building, he arrived at Professor Liviu Librescu¡¦s classroom No. 204. The 76-year old once-retired educator used his own body to block the door to prevent the killer from entering and slaughtering his students, giving them the opportunity to escape from danger through the windows, thereby saving the lives of more than 10 students but forfeiting his own. The heroism of Professor Librescu was highly praised by the U.S. President and the Government of Israel. He was hailed as the ¡§Hero of Room 204¡¨. The ironic aspect of this event was that the day this Romanian-born Jew - who managed to survive the Nazi Holocaust during World War II - sacrificed his life to save others was Holocaust Remembrance Day.


A preacher will often be asked, ¡§Why doesn¡¦t God stop these acts of violence? Why allow gentle innocents to die unjustifiably?¡¨ These days, a lot of natural calamities and human follies extinguish many innocent lives. Sometimes, they may even be people we know and love. We can¡¦t help then but ask, ¡§Why?¡¨ This writer acknowledges that there are no simple answers to painful occurrences in the world. Even the very wise and learned King Solomon, who enjoyed limitless material abundance during his life but also witnessed innumerable human afflictions, said in his old age, ¡§This only have I found: God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes. Who is like the wise man? Who knows the explanation of things?¡¨ (Ecclesiastes 7:29-8:1) But this writer believes that God permits us to see these human tragedies in order that we may learn compassion and to intercede for those suffering.


Dear brothers and sisters. Through this act of campus violence, have we as parents realized the importance of caring about our children¡¦s inner world? Do we understand the struggles and hardships facing them as they mature? Are we aware of which web sites they frequently visit? Do we know with whom they regularly exchange IM¡¦s and emails? We should maintain a frank exchange with them, and endeavor to understand their emotional and psychological needs; not just focus on their physical needs but overlook the spiritual. We must especially be good models in the home, build up a testimony of glorifying and serving God, nurture our children through instructions from the bible and prayer, and not allow our offspring to become a live-in ¡§prodigal son¡¨.


Regarding education, many of the reputable universities in North America in the past were founded by God-fearing, Truth-loving Christians. They all employed the values of Biblical Truth as their academic enterprise¡¦s vision and commission.  Nowadays, although these universities do offer high-tech and quality instruction, they are unable to foster people of responsibility and high moral fiber. From American history, we see that once their institutions for educational administration removed the Bible and prayer from public school classrooms, what followed were schoolyard violence and rampant drug addiction and sexual promiscuity in their youth. In this age of lax laws and murky justice, it seems that even education has lost its footing. Shouldn¡¦t the Church be more fervent in testifying for God¡¦s Truth, keep watch for society, and awaken the slumbering souls so that they may return to God?


"Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.  When I say to a wicked man, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.¡¨ (Ezekiel 3:17-19)


By: Daniel To