By Janae Wright
Rome, April 17 - Even though it occurred half a world away, Monday's deadly rampage on the campus of Virginia Tech University was on the minds of many John Cabot University students today. On Tuesday around campus it was evident JCU students were hit hard by the news. At one point, a crowd gathered as one student held up the front-page coverage in USA Today.
“I am extremely disturbed and disgusted by the behavior of the individual who has done this. I feel great sorrow and remorse for those suffering losses of a loved one. I just can’t believe this has happened,” said the JCU student, requesting her name not be mentioned.
Flags are flying at half-mast across much of the United States on Tuesday because of a student who terrorized the Virginia Tech campus, killing at least 32, and then himself. Virginia Tech students tried urgently to contact their family and loved ones via mobile phones, only to find they were unable to reach anyone because the lines were jammed with activity.
As a result, many of the 26,000 Virginia Tech students turned to the internet for information, support, and to contact family and friends. The world watched anxiously as these horrific events unfolded.
From all over world, JCU students included, people began to unite behind the VT student body. The Toronto Star reported that on the popular online community, Facebook.com, a meeting place had formed for university students all over the world to rally support in the aftermath of the tragedy. The newspaper said: “Over 40,000 netizens, their numbers growing with each minute, joined groups on Facebook, the social networking site. One student posted a prayer on the message board. More than 70 people responded with just one word: ‘Amen’.”
One Virginia Tech Student interviewed by The Matthew Online was amazed at all the posts and messages of support that poured into her Facebook account. She also noticed the growing number of people joining Facebook groups to pay tribute. “ I joined a tribute group with only five other people in it. Now the numbers have reached far in to the thousands,” she said.
In these numbing hours, the students of Virginia Tech need the world to embrace and support them. A number of government officials, including President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, are doing this by joining students and their loved ones at a convocation on Tuesday. As a University of Miami student wrote, summing up the feeling of many: “Today, we are all Hokies.”