There’s only one positive that could possibly come out of the Virginia Tech fiasco. That would be the enshrining of Professor Liviu Librescu as a role model, hero, and household name. Librescu is the Mechanical Engineering professor who threw his own body against the door of his classroom in Norris Hall on the Va. Tech campus in order to give his students a chance to escape the rage of an evil, sick madman and his deadly shooting spree. A holocaust survivor originally from Romania, Librescu died so that others could live, on April 16 – Holocaust Rememberance Day.
The shooter, Cho, should be remembered only as an inveterate narcissist who gives losers a bad name, who chose to deal with his social and mental health problems in the most selfish, despicable, pre-meditated way possible, and should be thrown into the dustbin of history as soon as possible (got that, NBC?). The hero, Librescu, should be remembered forever. We can start by signing this petition, begun by students at Virginia Tech, requesting that Norris Hall be renamed Librescu Hall immediately.
Today’s National Post has a great article by Graeme Hamilton about Librescu’s heroism. Here’s my answer, via Hamilton’s article, to those say that taking action against the shooter would have been the wrong thing to do:
There are examples of unarmed people successfully confronting a gunman. In 2002, an Australian university instructor, Lee Gordon-Brown, struggled across a classroom while wounded to disarm a heavily armed gunman. In the United States, 17-year-old Jake Ryker credited his knowledge of guns for being able to recognize when a high school shooter in Springfield, Ore., in 1998 needed to reload. He seized the opportunity to tackle the shooter.
President Bush – who is at his best at times like these, but who has been so badly battered by the New York media mafia that he is virtually ignored – paid tribute to Librescu at a ceremony at the U.S. Holocaust Museum on Wednesday. A lesser President – say, Clinton – would have made a plea for more gun control, and figured out how to cynically inject himself into the private mourning of others. From Bush’s speech:
“That day we saw horror, but we also saw acts of quiet courage. We saw this courage in a teacher named Liviu Librescu. With the gunman set to enter his class, this brave professor blocked the door with his body while his students fled to safety. On the Day of Remembrance, this Holocaust survivor gave his own life so that others might live. And this morning we honor his memory, and we take strength from his example.”
The words of Librescu’s son, in a eulogy delivered at his funeral in Israel, are perhaps the most poignant:
“Father, I believe that at this moment you’re looking down on us from above and saying, what is all this crowing around? I only did what I had to do. From our childhood, you taught us to care for people, to work hard, to succeed, but you never taught us to be heroes. It is more theoretical a lesson than aerodynamics,” he said. “A hero must have the right combination of certain attributes, and you had them.”
According to Arie, his father “used every spare minute to do what he loved.” Speaking of his father’s teaching, Librescu said that “the courses in aerodynamics have ended. On the 16th of the month, you started a new career, teaching a new subject – heroism – [which] millions of students are learning.”
From the ultimate act of selfishness, to the ultimate act of selflessness. Cho, rot in hell. Liviu, enjoy that much better place.