:: 2:26pm EDT Update :: The Virginia Tech Convocation can be viewed live here.
In 1991, my older brother was only two months into his high school career when Ryan Harris took a math class hostage, just down the hall from where my brother was located. I was ten years old at the time; sixteen years later, the images of the long-haired Harris being ushered into a police car are still etched in my memory.
In 1999, I gave the commencement speech at my graduation and referenced the 19 students at Columbine High School that would never have the opportunity to walk the aisle.
This morning, 33 students are dead in Virginia, and my pastor’s last name and nationality are the same of the now-deceased gunman’s. It’s tragic that our tendency is to ostracize those that may share some obvious commonality with the perpetrator of such a crime — skin color, heritage, religion, etc. — but I ascribe to the notion that, in times such as these, it is our collective depravity that allows such things to happen.
So. I make the conscious decision to pray — for the victims, the family of the gunman, even the gunman himself. I also choose to pray in defense of Eugene, his family, and my scores of South Korean brothers and sisters…I hope I can be a small lifter of some of the burdens they may face in the coming weeks.