Custom Search

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech Killing Spree: Heroes Emerge

Yesterday was a horrible day where parents lost their children and some children lost their parents, to senseless violence and I hope everyone is remembering to keep these families as well as the survivors in their prayers and thoughts.

I kept updating as the news came out and the killer was identified today as Cho Seung-Hui, a student who had shown recent signs of violent, aberrant behavior, according to an investigative source, including setting a fire in a dorm room and allegedly stalking some women, according to the Chicago Tribune and ABC and just about every other paper or news source.

In going over the news reports I ran across a truly heroic act on that horrible day.

As Jews worldwide honored on Monday the memory of those who were murdered in the Holocaust, a 76-year-old survivor sacrificed his life to save his students in Monday's shooting at Virginia Tech College that left 33 dead and over two dozen wounded.

Professor Liviu Librescu, 76, threw himself in front of the shooter when the man attempted to enter his classroom. The Israeli mechanics and engineering lecturer was shot to death, "but all the students lived - because of him," Virginia Tech student Asael Arad - also an Israeli - told Army Radio.

Several of Librescu's other students sent e-mails to his wife, Marlena, telling of how he had blocked the gunman's way and saved their lives, said Librescu's son, Joe.

"My father blocked the doorway with his body and asked the students to flee," Joe Librescu said in a telephone interview from his home outside of Tel Aviv. "Students started opening windows and jumping out."

Librescu was respected in his field, his son said.

"His work was his life, in a sense," said Joe. "That was a good place for him to practice his research."

The couple immigrated to Israel from Romania in 1978. They then moved to Virginia in 1986 for his sabbatical and had stayed since then, Joe told Army Radio.

Imagine... living through the Holocaust to die at the hands of a madman in a Virginia University.

The Daily News describes, through eyewitnesses, Librescu's actions also.

Virginia Tech University Prof. Liviu Librescu, described as a family man who once did research for NASA, sacrificed his life to save his students in the shooting rampage yesterday.

"When he heard the gunfire, he blocked the entrance and got shot through the door," his daughter-in-law Ayala Schmulevich said.

"He realized he had to save the students," she said. "That was the kind of man he was."

The hero educator was beginning a class on solid mechanics when all hell broke loose on the second floor of Norris Hall.

First came the terrifying gunshots from a classroom next door.

"It wasn't like an automatic weapon, but it was a steady 'pow,' 'pow,' 'pow,' 'pow,'" student Richard Mallalieu, 23, told The Washington Post. "We didn't know what to do at first."

The students in the class dropped to the floor and started overturning desks to hide behind as about a dozen shots rang out, he said.

Then the gunfire started coming closer. Librescu, 77, fearlessly braced himself against the door, holding it shut against the gunman in the hall, while students darted to the windows of the second-floor classroom to escape the slaughter, survivors said.

Mallalieu and most of his classmates hung out of the windows and dropped about 10 feet to bushes and grass below - but Librescu stayed behind to hold off the crazed gunman.

Alec Calhoun, 20, said the last thing he saw before he jumped from the window was Librescu, blocking the door against the madman in the hallway.

He died trying to protect the students.

I am sure as more comes out about this tragedy, more heroes will emerge, other faculty members and even students that gave their lives trying to protect others and as they do come out, I will bring them to you.

The Smoking Gun
has a play up on their site that Cho Seung-Hui wrote and after reading it, it is clear this is a disturbed mind.

I am sure people from both sides of the gun control issue will emerge with theories, but either way, gun control laws only work with people that OBEY the law.

With or without gun control laws, lunatics will exist and criminals will carry guns.

Whether or not we have the right to protect ourselves with equal force is an issue to be debated another time.

For now, I plan on keeping all those that were lost, and their families in my thoughts and I hope you will too.