Today was not an easy one at the office. Though Virginia Tech is four hours away, I can think of a handful of people I know who went there, are there or are going there.
One of the county's coaches wrestled there; another played football there. A friend in the biz went there too; another has kids there. A baseball player who I dealt with in years past plays there. A baseball player who I deal with now is going to play there next year.
I've been to the campus a handful of times. I've watched a basketball game at Cassell Coliseum, across the street from West Ambler Johnston, where this whole tragic day began.
I remember, now somewhat strangely, driving through Blacksburg and seeing anti-war protesters. I can't recall their particular message, but it was enough that my wife and I chuckled at the thought. "Why are they worried?" we wondered. "D.C. has a giant bull's-eye on its back; no one cares about Blacksburg Freaking Virginia."
But for one day...
As I sat there watching the updates come across the wire - one death became 20, 20 became 30 - I felt far closer to there than the four hours of drive time.
I sit here trying to figure out what I should write. I'm blogging, and I should be writing something, right? But nothing's coming to me. It's a mix of sadness, outrage, frustration - though I cannot take pleasure in knowing that many others feel the same.
It's simply not satisfying enough to chalk the incident up to a lone, mad gunman, especially one that won't be around to serve his pennance. Justice can't be served, at least not by anyone on this planet.
No one's going to pay for this act. Instead, it's left to the families of those deceased to pay the price; that isn't right. They're left with the unanswerable question: why?
Maybe it was a mistake to sit and read and watch and digest everything I could. It's simply habit for a news junkie, until it gets to be late at night and the lingering hangover sets in. Thirty-two families go to bed tonight in unimaginable sorrow; I pray for each of them. An entire community goes to bed with its world completely overturned.
The sun will rise, tomorrow, certainly. But the haunting memories of what happened on Monday won't be undone so easily. Not for the students, staff or their families.
The best I can do, I suppose, is to pray for each and every one of them. I guess it's time I get to bed and get started.