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Calm campus ocean rippled by violence

Illustration by Cody Angell
By Jessica Lee
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday October 29, 2002

The tears drip down her cheek. An old man shakes his head, sets down his glasses and wonders why things have changed.

Running across the back yard, a four-year old does not understand why no one feels like playing today.

Leaning on his rake, a worker pauses to gaze at the thunderheads building over the Santa Catalina Mountains.
Jessica Lee

Clenching them in one last hug, parents face the fact that their children are now off to the UA.

All alone in a big world.

The same beauties that surround us in Tucson are still here on this warm fall morning. Daily stresses will still be pettishly overwhelming, and the pursuit of knowledge does not stop when life does.

Yet, the Tucson and Wildcat communities were unjustly shaken by a lone act of violence yesterday morning. All students, faculty, staff and thousands of alumni were stunned by the murders of three professors.

When President Pete Likins addressed the clan of reporters yesterday, he stressed that it is important to separate "grief from fear."

This is the time to grieve.

While the violent act itself was specific and isolated, its consequences have induced ripples onto the usually calm campus ocean.

In order to incite further community and campus discussion, the following ideas, sentiments, and questions below are quoted from the online message board that can be found at the Web site of the Arizona Daily Wildcat, http://wc.arizona.edu.

"My heart goes out to the families of the deceased, and I wish people would realize that grades don't show a professor's opinion of you as a person, but simply your work; and if your work doesn't cut it, you don't get the grade you want. It's that simple! It just goes to show you, this kind of thing can happen anywhere! I'm just sorry it was Tucson."

"Please, no gun control politicizing for at least one day. Let's worry about taking care of the living and burying the dead first."

"I graduated from the UA a few years ago, and even though I'm several states away in Washington, it didn't lessen the impact of this morning's terrible, terrible incident. My thoughts go out to all the friends and family of the victims, the students who had to watch their professors shot right in front of them, and the campus as a whole. It brings such terrible sadness to a school that I dearly love and admire. Be good to one another; find safety and comfort with friends and those closest to you."

"I just hope that the people who were killed today were on good terms with their friends and family and most of all themselves. We never know when it's going to be our turn, do we? I'm just reminded to live each day to the fullest, the best way I know how."

"I am very sad and shocked that this has happened at our school. You read about it happening everywhere else and hope that it doesn't happen here. Well, we are not above anyone else, it has happened here and it's something to deal with together. My prayers go out to the families who have lots loved ones and to all the students and staff who remain at the UA! Much love to all the Wildcats out there!"

In conclusion is a poem that was posted to the Wildcat message board:

I do not understand why
and I keep asking
and I've been asking
and I've been shouting.
It's quite a simple question
but no one looks me in the eye
and no one gives a straight answer.
All I hear are the formula statements
that this is the world
we live in today
that this is how it
is that we are not safe anywhere
and yet I still do not
understand why.
I don't understand why people do these things
I don't understand why we have to live in this world
I don't understand why I am 18 and I have to question whether or not I want to bring children into this world
and I'm still shouting
but my voice is growing weaker
and hoarser still
and my questions are losing potency
only to be replaced by the understanding
that it is better not to ask
and it is better to keep my head down.
I understand now.


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