Saturday, February 20, 2010
UAHuntsville. A Sad Day.
I have wanted to write about this since it happened, but I haven't quite yet been able to sort through my feelings.
There was a shooting on the UAHuntsville campus. A professor shot 6 other people at the Shelby Center. My building. I spent hours in that building. I knew every lab, classroom, and vending machine. I had Dr. Bishop, the shooter, the murderer, the brilliant scientist. She taught me anatomy and physiology. She was brilliant. She was a Harvard graduate, had a beautiful family, a thriving career, and was doing incredible research in our labs. I admired her. She seemed to have everything I was striving for. She was a bit quirky though. She never made eye contact, never showed emotion, and was kind of sporadic in her thought process, but every professor seems to have their quirks. I never ever thought I was looking at the face of a killer every day.
I also knew the victims... met with them, talked to them, sat through their lectures, sat and talked with them in labs and in their offices, and the thought that their lives would end in those same rooms, doing what they loved, never crossed my mind. Dr. Johnson set up my interview with the med school recruits for UAB and the University of South Alabama. He was my advocate and friend. Dr. Davis taught the very first college class I ever attended. Her warm smile put me at ease when I walked into Wilson Hall with all of the nervous energy and doubts of a freshman. She was kind and genuinely concerned for her students... for me, and now they are gone. Their brilliance and kindness and compassion are simply gone. They're no longer able to create or teach or discover.
I guess through this tragedy I have learned that it is okay to feel each emotion that swells in my heart. It is okay to feel grief and sadness and admiration and gratitude all at the same time. I don't have to chose one over the other. I can feel gratitude for both the victims and the accused. I can mourn the loss of great minds who sacrificed their time and energy to share their understanding, and I can also have compassion for the person who took that gift from us. Dr. Bishop, like all of us made both good choices and bad choices, and I can have gratitude for her good and compassion for her tragedy. In spite of my anger and frustration caused by this calamity, I can be Christlike, and in return, I can find peace.