VPI, not VMI

When I went to school at UVa 30 years ago, we called Virginia Tech “VPI” (Virginia Polytechnic Institute). I guess they had an upgrade to a university, just like George Mason College University. I knew people at Tech but never made what seemed like an impossibly long drive to Blacksburg. (I was still unacquainted with vast distances so familiar to me now as a westerner.)

I’ll write some other time about what a great world this would be without guns. (Have no fear, gun-freaks — you’ve got guns!) I watched part of the convocation on Tuesday and was struck by a few things:

(1) The only speaker should have been the first, the Vice President for Student Affairs. Her words, tone and demeanor were perfect. Everything else detracted from her opening remarks.

(2) You knew things had turned conventional when the President of VPI offered the biography of the Governor of Virginia. Do we really need to know what the governor did in his youth? (Unless it was march for or against gun control.)

(3) Duhbya could have been worse, even if references to a loving god seem ironic under the circumstances.

(4) When the religious leaders gathered on stage — even a buddhist, but no Hindu, I think — I wondered, “where are the atheists?” Atheists suffer life’s tragedies without magic to comfort us.

(5) I was shocked by the playing of the Star-spangled Banner and the color guard drill. This was not a military situation. These were not soldiers. This wasn’t war. As with 9/11, this was a somewhat international group of victims; people all over the world were hurt by this. We don’t need nationalism, when humanity should suffice. A world without nations or guns in which everyone recognizes each other as human beings? Talk about magic. Even people who can believe in god don’t believe that’s possible. mjh

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