Tuesday, April 17, 2007

(April 17, 2007)

Walter must be sad.

Tony must be sad.

Brian must be sad.

There was the picture of all of us, Math Award winners in eighth grade. We had practically the same oversized glasses and short frumpy haircuts. I was the only girl. The rest went to Virginia Tech.

It is sad, thirty-three dead is awful.

The students must be scared.

Living with fear is awful. Living with grief is a challenge.

Some days there are more than thirty-three dead in Iraq and some days, less. Sometimes they report the numbers and sometimes they don’t. It’s been so many days in a row now.

People are wondering why. Why does a student kill students.

We've sent so many students to Iraq. ROTC is a great way to go through college if you don’t have money for college. My first love went ROTC, narrowly missing the call for the Gulf War.

Right now, students are killing Iraqis in order to save their own lives.

Right now, students are killing we-don’t-know-how-many-or-who Iraqis: armed or unarmed, school children or uneducated, old or young. We don’t report these murders, we report suicide bombers. We report sectarian conflict.

Right now, veterans you sent to war are living with themselves in this country, with your question Why?

Tax season had just ended when the shooting occurred.

This year I paid $68 in federal taxes. Some percentage of which goes to fund students killing Iraqis.

The road to Blacksburg is dangerous. Your car is hugging mountain curves, and the tractor trailers are right up there with you, above the ravines and the quarries.

But when you get to Blacksburg, the air is thin and clear. The sky is beautiful. The hills around you are a comfort.

Elizabeth says her uncle in Danville, Virginia has an arsenal in his basement. Untold numbers of guns.

Elizabeth says that Danville’s National Guard is on the top of the list of units to be called, because they are known for being so adept with guns.

The gunman at Virginia Tech, this student, was armed to the teeth. He wore a vest for ammunition, he had two automatic weapons, he had back up bullets. He scraped off serial numbers. He knew his way around a gun.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute is a former military academy which still has its own corps of cadets.

Killeen, Texas, site of the second-biggest shooting in America, is home of a U.S. Army base.

San Diego, site of the third-biggest shooting in America, is a well-known military city.

It’s only been in the latter half of the war that they started reporting Iraqi deaths.

The American press is still banned from running photographs of the American coffins.

Last year at this time, I was at an estate sale where the bereaved family had price-tagged rifles next to paper clips and armchairs and twenty-year-old bottles of anise.

Nineteen years ago at this time, I was on a tennis court in Blacksburg, losing the Virginia state tennis championship. I cried to lose the last match for my high school team.

A few months after that, I was in Blacksburg to rendezvous with my first love, who was forbidden to visit me in Charlottesville.

We were staying in the dorm room with Tony and Brian, and we visited Walter and Angela.

In Blacksburg, I lost some of my virginity to my first love.

We had already broken up, and we broke up again afterward.

It was sad.

Tony must be sad.

Angela probably cried.

Walter must be sad.

Brian must be very sad.

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