Cho Seung-Hui, the gunman who snuffed out 32 promising young lives before taking his own in a fit of insane violence Monday at Virginia Tech, is now being described by university officials and fellow students as "a loner."
No doubt, this story has many dimensions and will turn out to be complex beyond complete understanding. Already we are learning of his anger, violent writing and bizarre social behavior. Obviously, this young man was extremely troubled and in need of specialized professional attention.
One observation about him stands out to me.
The purpose of community building and community development is to see that everyone has a chance to be connected in a meaningful, enduring manner to at least a few other people. From what I'm reading and hearing, Cho Seung-Hui had many opportunities to realize a connection to the Virginia Tech community, but he was too unstable and disturbed to take advantage of these options. The results, of course, have been beyond tragic.
We continue to grieve with the entire university community. It works that way among people who know and understand the power and importance of human connectedness. A blow to one strong community can be felt by others who enjoy and are working on building community together.
Building community must remain our clear mission, informing everything we do in the city.
Our work cannot be just about charity or compassion or "helping" people. It cannot be fundamentally about providing people volunteer opportunities. The basis of what we seek to accomplish is fundamentally not about feeding people, housing people, healing people or educating people.
We must go further.
While we may decide to use activities like these to do part of our work, and while such actions often will prove necessary, our goal must always be to connect people to one another for improved well being and for the experience of authentic, human community.
Our call is to eliminate "loners." We aim to omit isolation.
Announcement from Duke Memorial UMC
1 week ago