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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 04/17/2007

A Day of Silence

By Liz Kelly

So this is the part of the day where I'm supposed to be funny and lob a few barbs at this or that celebrity worthy of being taken down a notch and, despite the fact that a little light news might be just what we need right now, I don't have it in me today.

I spent five (or so) years as a student at Virginia Tech and resident of Blacksburg, Va. As images and details of yesterday's massacre continue to emerge, a part of my heart has broken knowing that this place -- a place of bucolic beauty, self-discovery, the pursuit of knowledge and a dynamically diverse population -- will forever be the site of unspeakable tragedy and horror for students, faculty, parents and a shocked world.

We'll pick up where we left off tomorrow and, no doubt, take some celeb with an outsized ego to task for inserting his foot squarely in mouth yet again. Until then, though, let's take the rest of the day to process this horrendous event.

Virginia Tech Shootings: Full Coverage

By Liz Kelly  | April 17, 2007; 10:30 AM ET
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Thanks Liz. That could been any of our children.

My heart is breaking for the parents and students of VT.

Posted by: SoMD | April 17, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I didn't know you were a Hokie. My husband got his BA there and taught there for 2 years. We are without words today.

Posted by: jfsnyder | April 17, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Your 'day of silence' is an appropriate reminder of what's important.
We're praying for the families who lost loved ones yesterday and for peace and comfort in the VT community.

Posted by: PR in GA | April 17, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Liz. As a college administrator, I can sympathize what that community is feeling. The feeling for alumni, removed from campus but still very attached, is difficult as the grieving is different yet very much the same. I wish you well. I am praying for the VA Tech community.

Posted by: Philly | April 17, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

thank you.

Posted by: frieda406 | April 17, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Liz, for doing the classy thing when it counts.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I didn't know you were a fellow Hokie, Liz. To me, Blacksburg was an amazing, unique, and wonderful community in which to spend my college years, and I believe that those bonds will help everyone come together and work through this tragic awful event. Unfortunately, Blacksburg has seen more than its share of tragedies in the past three years, but I prefer to think that those were isolated anomalies. Blacksburg is still a wonderful town, and VA Tech is still an amazing school where anyone can feel proud to attend.

Posted by: snow crash | April 17, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I'm so sorry Liz. My best friend went there. He is numb right now. But, based on the things I have seen from Hokie Nation, not only this but in the past, I have faith you will all come through this strong and UNITED. God bless.

Posted by: ep | April 17, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Liz. We love you and all the Hokies out there!

Posted by: JUniata College Class of 2004 | April 17, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

liz, i had no idea you were a fellow hokie. way to feed my obsession even more.
i joke b/c i don't even know where to beging, w/o echoing your own words and sentiments. not only do i remember my college years as some of the best years of my life, but i remember blacksburg as a safe, serene and almost-care free haven. i say almost b/c i did have classes to pass. as i grieve for the community and the families of the victims i know our great institution will pull through. i also know i have a lot of crying left in me...

Posted by: cee_jay | April 17, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

My heart goes out to the Virginia Tech Family (Students, Parents, Administrators, Alumni, etc). This incident highlights the need to psychiatric counseling on college campuses. I attended a college that had 3 suicides in a one month period, but the university did not increase counseling services to students or establish a "hotline" for students to call if they did not want person counseling(even though, many volunteers students and alumni were willing to volunteer)

What saddens me most is this could have happen at any college/university. College is not all March Madness and Spring Break. Some students are in serious emotional pain

Posted by: Lisa1 | April 17, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Today, for many of us, it will be a day of prayer. I hope your day is tranquil and quiet and calm.

Posted by: Milwaukee | April 17, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Though tragic, do you cry and mourn and stay silent for the tens of thousands of people that die everyday from disease and hunger and car crashes?

Do you cry for those that died of AIDS today? Or cancer? Are they any less important? What about the hundreds of people that were killed by a drunken driver in the minute that I wrote this?

Tragic, yes. Move on. Some of us need the inane blather of celebrity to deal with issues such as "this".

Posted by: Fedup | April 17, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Though I went to UVa, I'm not one of those typical types who bashes Tech all the time (I went to UVa for French...if I had wanted engineering or agriculture, I would've gone to Tech....)
Anyway, I've spent enough time in Blacksburg and the surrounding areas to know how close knit that community is. My heart goes out to the Hokies far and near, old and young. This hit a little too close to home. What's even scarier is that it could've happened anywhere. It could've happened at UVa, or JMU or Mason or Maryland or UCLA or Stanford or..or...or.
I hope everyone hugs their loved ones a little closer today as we remember those minds who were lost.

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I feel that this is something that could easily happen on any college campus as long as guns are so easily available. On a campus of 26,000 there will naturally be people with problems. It's how they decide to handle it that matters.
I went to a posh college and was stalked by a weirdo my freshman year. The school was reluctant to do anything about it. What if he had had a gun?
It seems like there is a very nice community at VATech and I hope they are able to get through this. My heart goes out to all the people there.

Posted by: Barb | April 17, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Liz, Thank you for your silence today. As an alumnus, it's hard to swallow this tragic event at a place that I have such fond memories of. I lived in AJ as a freshman and worked at the college of engineering in Norris hall. I try to think of how I would feel if I had been there, but I truly cannot imagine the loss the students, families and faculty feel at this time. Thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by this terrible tradgedy.

Posted by: Kerry | April 17, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

From one Hokie to another, I know exactly how you feel. Even those who aren't Hokies know what we're feeling - we're all Hokies today. And all of the silly celebrities will still be there tomorrow.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I keep thinking about all of those mothers that got up yesterday and went to work thinking their kid is safe and having fun at college. Not even worrying about it. God, my heart is breaking for them.

Posted by: KG | April 17, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Liz, and I'm so sorry.

I spent 4 1/2 years at JMU, but spent more than a few road-trip weekends at Tech. My brother was at the Vet school and about half of my high-school class went to Tech. I loved Blacksburg just as much as I loved Harrisonburg. I still can't fathom that something so horrifying could have happened somewhere so beautiful and welcoming.

My heart goes out to all Hokies today.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | April 17, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Way to show your sensitivity Fedup. I only hope that if you ever have a child involved in something like this, someone you don't know is equally as sensitive.

Posted by: Hokie Pride | April 17, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Fedup. This is celeb column and just because Liz is a "hokie" doesn't mean that she can use this space as a personal grief outlet. If this would have happened at any other college or university, I doubt that she would alter her column.

Posted by: Fedup2 | April 17, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

My condolences to you, Liz, and everyone in the VT community. I am just heartbroken over this.

Posted by: M | April 17, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate your opinion and we'll return our focus to celebrities bright and early Wednesday morning. In the meantime, this might be a good place to point out that this is a "blog" and although it doesn't have much in common with a user-generated weblog, it is still a somewhat personality driven product. Meaning that my life and personality end up seeping into the writing more often than not, even when dissecting the latest from John Mayer and Jessica Simpson.

Good thing there's room for all of it. Love that endless news hole.

Posted by: Liz | April 17, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Liz, I too spent four glorious years in Blacksburg at Virginia Tech. I am absolutely heartbroken. I can't even begin to imagine the pain of the families that lost loved ones.

And to Fedup, I offer a quote from Blacksburg's "celebrity":

"We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while. We are not moving on. We are embracing our mourning. We are Virginia Tech ..."

-- Nikki Giovanni

Posted by: Nada | April 18, 2007 2:13 AM | Report abuse


"People who want to take this within 24 hours of the event and make it their political hobby horse to ride, I've got nothing but loathing for them."
Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine

Posted by: SoMD | April 18, 2007 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Liz, no wonder I love you so much! I stayed in WAJ my freshman year, I grew up in Cville, so all of this hits me where it really hurts. I still feel such disbelief. I truly hope that in time the families will start to hurt a little less and that the Tech Community regains some sense of normalcy. Easier said than done....

Posted by: Hokie 4Ever | April 18, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Liz, I had no idea you were a Hokie. I'm a Wahoo myself, and I feel like my family was attacked. My sister-in-law and best friend went to VT, as did my boyfriend's parents. We're all Hokies today.

Posted by: musicgeek | April 20, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

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