I know that it is truly too soon to tell if the slaughter on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia will have enough influence to change the way America thinks about guns, the second amendment and gun control. Worse, I don’t know that any national tragedy has ever permanently change the way the US, as a nation, thinks.
What needs to change is the way we, as individuals, think. I noticed, and it may be the close proximity to the tragedy but I hope not, today that I was much more vigilant, for lack of a better word.
I was on the campus of a local university. It is not an oddity as my ex works there and I usually go over at least once a month to pick up a child support check. When we were married and our children were young, I was on campus all the time because our children went to the preschool on campus that is for students, faculty, staff and then community members in that order of preference. I was an officer on the board of directors. I know the campus, though there has been and continues to be a lot of building as it becomes a more popular choice for college students.
Anyway, as I pulled onto campus today through the main entrance, it struck me at how open and easy it is to get on campus. I am not saying this is good or bad. I am just making an observation. There is an information kiosk as you enter campus so that visitors can get parking passes and such but traffic is not required to go through this area to proceed to the rest of campus.
As is my norm now – due to construction, I parked in a metered spot in front of the administration building and walked across the quad to get to the building I was headed to. Additional construction on campus meant I had to walk around the building to get in. I noticed not just students but a lot of other people. I could distinguish some as students by their age, some as professors or lecturers by their accessories but there were more. There were a lot of construction workers. Construction is, fortunately for the campuses as it means they need more space but unfortunately for security as it adds to background noise and the people that are on campus, a commonplace thing for college campuses recently. I saw several men that I presume to be working on the construction projects ongoing at this particular campus. It is possible they were actually physical plant employees. The long and the short is they were wearing toolbelts or tool vests. There were no ID cards distinguishing them from other adults.
I don’t recall every looking around at what other people walking on campus were doing. Today, I did. I watched when someone would speak to someone else. I watched as people came in and out of buildings I went by. I watched the way people walked, carried themselves. I was more observant.
While being more vigilant and observant would probably not have prevented the happenings at Virginia Tech, no one knows. While the tragedy may not shape the direction of gun control and second amendment discussions, the tragedy should shape the things we, as individuals, take in and digest as we are out and about in our worlds.