Posted by: Taylor | April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech Massacre: Where is the Humanity?

Students MournThe massacre at Virginia Tech has left all effected by it with a piercing hole in our hearts.  Each of us asking ourselves:

“Why did this happen?”  “Is my child safe?”  “Could I be next?”  “What should have been done to prevent this?”  “Why did this person chose to destroy so many lives?”

These are some of the many personal questions we are asking ourselves as we sort through the tragedy which befell our nation yesterday morning.  It is normal for us to desire answers, to want to understand why things happened.  I too want to understand why.  I too want to protect my children.  I too hope to know if things could be done to have prevented this.  But the thing which I want to here most, I still have not even heard once.

What Concerns Me Most:

2:00 p.m., April 16th – I turn onto I-459 headed to pick my children up from school.  I have been working all day with no knowledge of the unfolding events in Virginia.  Turning on the radio, I received a quick report of the road conditions and weather.  Next, a short commercial.  Then the radio personality calmly reports the shoots on the Virginia Tech campus.

I was immediately on the phone to my wife.  One of her co-workers has a son at school in Virginia.  She tells me that the son goes to Virginia State University.  After this, I pray.

The rest of my afternoon is taken up with kids, ball games, and bedtime stories.  Once the children were in bed, my wife and I took thirty minutes to watch the news footage of the days events.  Thirty minutes was more than enough.  In ten minutes time we gathered all relevant information.  I turned off the television.  We each prayed silently, and went to bed.

8:00 a.m. April 17th – The kids were off to school, and my wife was off with them for a field trip.  Before starting my work for the day, I decided I would check and see what updates had occurred during the night.  After another thirty minutes, my heart was heavy, and I needed to pray.

Something was missing from these reports.  Reporters volleyed their thoughts back and forth to each other like two competing champion tennis players in a heavily contested match.  Although the coverage was informed, it was lacking something.  Humanity.

Where is the Humanity?

Obviously, the shooter had lost a sense of humanity, but what about the news media?  What I saw last night and this morning turned my stomach.  I saw reporter after reporter completely unaffected by these events.

What most concerned me was the reporters intrusive behavior into the lives of these young men and women who were witnesses or closely related to the victims.  I know that news personalities must keep a level of professionalism, but these children have experienced an enormous loss.  To take advantage of their vulnerability without compassion for the sake of a soundbite, shows a total loss of empathy and humanity.

One gentlemen tried to rationalize his involvement by saying, “I believe that as the survivors were ushered from one network to the other to tell their story over again and again is in some way a part of the healing process.”

The healing process!  Try exploitation!

Further, watching the body language of the reporters was as disturbing as their unemotional tonal inflections in their voices.  Most would not look the interviewee in the eye.  During the interviews, the media personality would ask questions with cold preciseness and without thought for the feels of the one they were interviewing.  At the conclusion of the interview, the reporter would calmly thank the person for their time, and then move onto their next victim.

The More Important Question:  “Where is God in all of this?”

This is a good question, but it does not seem to be one being asked.  After World War II, England and Europe were totally destroyed physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Many believe that World War II was the final contributing factor which turned Europe and England away from God and Christianity.

I’m afraid that America too is on the cusp of being lost in a forest of moral and spiritual relativism which is totally void of God and Christianity.  When the smoke cleared and the world looked at the results of evil’s fury, many decided that obviously it was stronger than God, and therefore, as it was later claimed in the 1960’s, “God is Dead.”

Others before us have had to confront war, death, and mammings.  Others before have asked the hard question of, “Where is God in all of this?”  But, we are not, and that is what concerns me most.

God is tough.  He can handle your questions.  In fact, many times over, others who faced far worse tragedies, stood before God with their anger and sorrow, and screamed for understanding.  They did not always get the answer they wanted.  Sometimes they didn’t get any answer at all, but in the end, they each came away with the same revelation, “Praise be to God, who sits upon His throne in Heaven.”

Where can you read about these people who had the courage to question God?  Try Job, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Nahum, Habakkuk or the Psalms.  There in the Bible.

But also remember the poem by Henry Longfellow I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.  Longfellow wrote this while sitting at his son’s hospital bedside.  His son had been severely wounded in the American Civil War, and as Longfellow tended to his sons needs, he too contemplated, “Where is God in this?”  Read his words, and contemplate his response.

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

God is not dead!  The wrong shall fail, and the right prevail.  And once again, there will be peace on earth, and good will to all!

Take courage, believe, and be blessed.  My family’s deep prayers go up continually for the families of the victims.  May God give each of you comfort and peace even now.


Copyright © April 2007 by Taylor W. Kendrick 

All rights reserved.  No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.


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