Virginia Tech

Cho Seung-Hui was somebody's son. He had grandparents and other relatives. As a child, he played with toys and explored his neighborhood. As a teen, he probably had caught the eye of a girl or two and surely dreamed about love more than once. The tragedy of 9/11 unfolded as he took his first steps into adulthood, and perhaps he was terrified that day like so many of us. A resident alien in the Land of Opportunity, he entered a fine university with expectations of achievement and success.

Cho Seung-Hui killed 33 people last week. He injured many others. He has been described as a loner. He will, however, forever be part of this group of 33. Unable to find membership with others in life, he now finds it in death. His aloneness has created aloneness for others. I think about the fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, friends and families of the victims - their grief incalculable, their loss irreversible. They now have to deal with being alone. Hopefully, they won't become loners.

We were never meant to be alone. We were made for community. It's a sad commentary that we can be alone even in the midst of a multitude, like a university campus. Relationships, friendships, and family are too precious to be ignored because of busyness, preoccupation, or ambition. Communion is too important to be neglected because of a careless word, a thoughtless action, or a selfish choice. Love is costly and must not be postponed. The consequences are just too terrible.

Evil can only be overcome by goodness. If someone had treasured Cho Seung-Hui, enjoyed him, forgiven him, and loved him, maybe we wouldn't be facing this nightmare. We can learn one thing from the Virginia Tech massacre: treasure those around you today. Tolerate their idiosyncrasies, delight in their uniquenesses, listen to their stories, share in their pain. The most noble thing we can do is build relationships of love. And maybe, just maybe, we can prevent the kind of aloneness that devastates our society.