Bolling Talks About Tech Tragedies
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Bill Bolling was one of the few power brokers left in Richmond - Gov. Tim Kaine had taken most of the rest on a trade mission to Asia the day before.
So when reports made their way to the State Capitol about something going on at Virginia Tech, they required the lieutenant governor's immediate attention.
"The governor's chief of staff notified me shortly after the second shooting - and I immediately went to the Capitol and met with them and was briefed on the situation," Bolling told "The New Dominion" podcast-radio show on Monday.
The reaction of those in the briefing room - "Obviously, we were all shocked by the events that occurred there that day," Bolling said. "We hear about things happening like this other places, but we don't imagine that they can happen here - not in Virginia, and certainly not on a safe, quiet, rural campus at a great institution like Virginia Tech."
As we all soon learned, it could happen at Virginia Tech. A gunman killed 32 students and professors at the Blacksburg university on April 16 before turning the gun on himself - making it clear, in Bolling's words, that "things like this can happen anytime, anyplace to anybody - and we're not immune from events of this nature anymore than anyone else is."
Bolling, as is the case with many of us, had something of a connection to the shootings - his son, Matt, is a 2006 graduate of Virginia Tech, where he was an assistant to the chairman of the engineering department whose office was located in Norris Hall, and who personally knew five of the victims of the April 16 shootings.
"There are some things that I know - and one of them is that the Hokie Nation is a big family, and in times like these, families pull together," Bolling said. "I have been just incredibly impressed with the way the Virginia Tech family has pulled together. They have handled themselves with character and with honor. I think they've made us all proud. And the other thing that I know is that Virginians are resilient people - and we will endure this. We will get through it. We won't be the same - but we will be stronger because of it."
The shootings "left a hole in the heart of the Commonwealth," Bolling said - but that said, the lieutenant governor has been proud of how Virginia Tech has come together as one in the face of the tragedies.
"We can be proud as a people as to how we've responded to this event," Bolling said. "Clearly it is a day that we will never forget. It will change us forever. But I think the spirit of camaraderie and support and caring that we've shown this past week could not have been better."
Another lesson learned - "I think this event shows us how unimportant some of the things that we spend our time worrying about and arguing about and fighting about really are. They pale in comparison to the challenges that we've had to deal with this past week," Bolling said.
For additional information contact Randy Marcus at 804-786-2078 or 804-814-7117 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org.