Heroes outnumber cowards
Published 2:43 pm Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Liviu Librescu survived a Soviet labor camp during the Holocaust.
Monday morning, on the campus of Virginia Tech, the 76-year-old Romanian-born professor stood in the doorway of his engineering classroom to block a gunman from entering.
He was shot to death while saving the lives of his students, many of whom crawled out the windows to escape.
As we learn more pieces to the puzzle that was a deranged young man who killed 32 people on the campus of the Virginia school, I take comfort in the stories Professor Librescu's students have told about his heroism in the last moments of his life.
In such tragedies, we are quick to wonder what this world is coming to, how a 23-year-old college student could plot such a dastardly and cowardly massacre.
So, what is this world coming to?
For every Cho Seung-Hui - the crazed shooter in the nation's most deadly mass shooting - there might be 100 or 10,000 or 100,000 simple heroes like Liviu Lebrescu, who lead long lives of quiet accomplishments and die as heroes.
There might be millions of heroes like Ryan Clark, a resident adviser who came to the aid of the girl who became Seung-Hui's first victim and was shot himself. Friends say such selflessness was a hallmark of Clark's character.
In coming days and weeks we will debate campus security and gun control and talk about recognizing psychosis before it turns into mass murder.
We will ask questions about the timeline of events and wonder why campus officials didn't lock down the campus, or who or what could have intervened to stop Seung-Hui before he ever bought a gun.
But I hope we will pay equal attention to the courage of men and women like Liviu Lebrescu and Ryan Clark and any of the other heroes I'm sure were there that day.
The world is full of such heroes - and heaven is now crowded with those angels.
Kerry Whipple Bean is publisher of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 251-867-4876, or by e-mail at email@example.com.