Saturday, April 21, 2007

What if ...

That's the question on everyone's lips. Now that the numbness has worn off and the true depth of loss is beginning to set in, all those who witnessed the massacre at Virginia Tech, both in person and through the media, are asking what could have been done to prevent this tragedy.
On the campus, some are asking if they should have, or could have, done more. Professors wonder if they could have reached out more. The response by the campus police is being questioned. Students wonder if they could have stopped the carnage. And all the while, the public is putting in their two cents, while experts offer their opinions, some based on psychology, others resting on the power of societies ills.
In their own way, all of these questions and all the speculation is worthy. When the unthinkable happens, I think it's human nature to try and make sense of it. But maybe some things can't be reasoned away.
I believe everything happens for a reason, but that doesn't mean every event will eventually make sense.
Life, every fleeting day of it, is a gamble. On Wednesday, NPR's Michele Norris interviewed the University of Virginia's director of counseling, Russ Federman. After all the talk about what the school could have done to help Seung-Hui Cho, Federman closed his interview by talking about the seeming randomness of life.
He talked about how, everyday, we believe we will go out into the world and will be safe from harm. But in reality, every day spent safely in the world can be thought of as another day we have pressed our luck. Yes, it's morbid, but for me at least, it could also be thought of as a call to action to live every day for all it's worth. Yes, it is cliche, but that doesn't mean it can't be good advice.
And last week was a good week to heed that advice.
Though it might have gone relatively unnoticed because of the Virginia Tech tragedy, this week also marked the anniversaries of the Oklahoma City federal building bombing (Thursday) and the Columbine school shootings (Friday), and closer to home, the death of The Times' own Tim Greening.
So, in honor of those lost and those remembered this week, go out and do something fun for yourself, or nice for someone else, or a little of both. (And for those of you brimming with ideas, tell us about your favorite life-affirming activities and give some inspiration to those less creative.)
Hopefully time is on your side, but just in case, make sure you're making the most of what you've got.

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