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Media focus should not be on VT shooter

Many of us have watched it numerous times, gasping in horror at the words and images viciously thrown our way. Those of us who haven’t gotten a hold of it yet ruthlessly search Internet pages or question our more well-informed friends about the contents of its controversial message.

In case you haven’t caught on yet, I’m referencing the now infamous Seung-Hui Cho manifesto video.

In the last week, our thoughts have been constantly focused on the recent Virginia Tech tragedy. We talk about it in class, among friends and even with strangers casually sitting next to us at the Union.

Even if we choose not to discuss the grisly images and scenes that seem to be on everyone’s minds, we still cannot seem to escape them.

Turning on the TV will lead to scenes of the shooter posing with a gun in each hand. Signing on to the Internet will give us constant updates on the progress of the investigation. Even flipping on the radio may give us an ongoing debate about the issue of gun control and the relevance that it has to this case.

Unfortunately, the media seems to be putting the spotlight only on the negative aspects surrounding the shooting, and honestly, how could one not?

However, even in a case such as this one, hope and camaraderie shine through at a time of destruction and hate.

For those of us who tuned in almost immediately after the first attack was reported, our first eyewitness account heard was probably that of Senior Zach Petkewicz.

According to an article in the Plain Dealer, Petkewicz was ‘scared out of his mind when Cho opened fire in his classroom.’

At first, the senior hid behind a classroom podium, but when Cho stepped out into the hallway, Petkewicz decided something had to be done. He and two other students barricaded the entrance to the classroom and held fast after Cho returned and fired into the door.

When asked by a CNN reporter what he thought about people calling him a hero, he responded by saying softly, ‘Just glad I could be here.’

Twenty-year-old Clay Violand was also in a classroom when Cho opened fire. According to a release from the National Public Radio, ‘As Cho stepped out to reload, Violand cautioned everyone to stay quiet and play dead, including the girl next to him who had been shot in the back.’

With a simple command and the ability to stay calm in a time of horror, one person was able to save the lives of many.

Then there’s the story of Liviu Librescu, a 76-year-old Israeli Holocaust survivor and internationally renowned professor of aerospace engineering.

Librescu died shielding his students from Cho’s attacks by barricading the door and blocking the shooter from entering.

According to an article in USA Today, ‘Librescu was apparently hit by a bullet that pierced the classroom door. His heroism gave students time to climb out the window, on the second floor of Norris Hall.’

Efforts such as these give hope to a generation that is being bombarded with stories of hate and destruction. Every single day we hear of another murder victim, another hate crime, another missing person abducted from their own front yard.

Our systems are overloaded with hateful music, violent video games and unethical movies at a younger and younger age.

It’s not hard to forget that good people do good deeds every once in awhile, especially when all the media seems to show us is our scoiety’s violence and decay.

However, efforts such as those made by the survivors and victims of the Virginia Tech tragedy should not be overlooked or forgotten as time goes on.

Their heroism and sacrifice have given us all the ability to come together as one community, to become stronger as a whole and to have the courage to face another day in a world that may not always be picture-perfect.

Send comments to Kristen Vasas at [email protected].

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