My heart has hurt every time I've watched the news during the past 24 hours. The incident at Virginia Tech is just beyond reckoning. It's hard to believe that one person could be so evil, and I do think that's the word for it.
As I've watched the news I've had flashbacks to the Gainesville murders in 1990. I lived there when they happened, and it was just terrifying. Five students were murded in one weekend in pretty horrible fashion - beheaded, posed in scenes. The unknown was what was the scariest. We didn't know who had done it or why. Answering the door was terrifying. Pizza shops lost business because no one would order pizza for delivery. Cops would go to apartments in response to 911 calls and have people open the door holding a gun. We all went inside when it got dark, locked the doors and didn't come out until the morning. Even when it was announced that the killer was caught, people didn't relax much. Our safe little world in Gainesville was gone.
I still have nightmares about the murders. And when I get up in the morning and discover that Brandon has left a door unlocked, I'm genuinely surprised that we weren't murdered in our sleep; it's just what I expect to happen.
I was talking about it all with the director at Lily's preschool today, and I told her that the one chink in my very liberal armor was that I believe absolutely in the death penalty as a result of the Gainesville murders. I don't think for a second that the death penalty prevents crime; it serves purely as punishment. There are just some people who are too evil to live, and Danny Harold Rollins was one of those people. He was executed last year for the Gainesville murders.
It's too bad the murderer in Virginia killed himself. We'll never have any kind of answer about why he did it. But at least the killing is over, and the healing can begin, if that's possible.