Thoughts on Virginia Tech

As the story has unfolded the last few days, I feel so terrible for the students who lost their lives, and I’ve listened to the questions about whether this tragedy could have been averted. And I keep remembering a murder at my own college, back when I was a student.

The first we heard of any trouble was the night it happened, when all the residence advisors told everyone to stay in their rooms, because a student had been killed off campus. Within a half an hour, there were helicopters overhead and K-9 units combing the wooded campus in the dark. Although they were fairly sure it was a domestic dispute (which indeed it turned out to be), law enforcement and campus authorities also questioned a few students who had a history of mental illness or violence. Once the killer was in custody, the residence advisors called everyone out to the auditorium, where the president of the college addressed us, explained what had happened, and told everyone where they could go for grief counseling on campus if they needed it.

Maybe these things are possible at a small liberal arts college in a way that doesn’t work at a university the size of a small city. But when I hear about the two-hour gap between the first shootings and the larger slaughter, I do believe things could have played out differently.

Easily amused

Editing an article on Seder Tohorot, I keep hearing the author in my head with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s accent, yelling, “It’s not a tumah!

(For those not versed in rabbinic law, Seder Tohorot deals with issues of purity and tumah is uncleanliness that can be spread or transferred from one person/object to another.)

Catching up

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

1. Passover’s finally over!!! Mmmm, hametz. Took Susan out for a birthday dinner at Chocolate by the Bald Guy, so my first hametz was salmon quiche, creme fraiche, salad, and chocolate fondue. Yum.

2. My brother is teaching me chess. He’s actually a really good teacher, very patient and good humored, with a good head for analogies and examples to keep things interesting and making sense. I don’t think I’ll ever take it to the level he does, reading all those books on opening theory and middle game and the like, but I like sharing this with him. And I rather like the experience of learning something from my younger brother; I’m at an age where I can really appreciate the experience.

3. My hair is getting longer. It’s long enough to tie back in french-braided pigtails, which makes it much easier to concentrate than having it long and floofy and tickling my nose. However, when I wear it loose, it’s just long enough to catch the breeze and turn my head this way and that. Walking down the street the other night, dressed up for dinner, every time the wind chanegd it felt like a school of fish around my head, turning this way and that.