Thoughts on Florida State, November 20, 2014
Our hearts are with the students, faculty, and staff of Florida State this morning following the shooting last night in their campus library that left three students wounded. Above all, we join with people around the world in sending our support and hope for the students’ full recovery — and for the campus as a whole as it deals with the aftermath of this terrifying incident.
That such news stories are far too common is a thought on all of our minds, of course. A shooting in a campus library — an almost sacred place for those of us in academic life — cuts deeply. And we ponder this just a few weeks away from the second anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, with the memory of the 20 beautiful children and six courageous adults we lost that day still potent and painful. In fact, nearly each such incident seems to be juxtaposed in time against some previous tragedy.
So along with sending comfort to the Florida State community today, I want to send a thought to all of us here on our own campus: There is a sad and all too real risk that we somehow become desensitized to such violence — that we simply become accustomed to living in fear of random acts of terror. This erosion of our expectations for a civil and decent society undercuts the very foundations of an academic community, and of our society itself. It is important that we retain our sense of horror in the face of horrifying acts, that we define ourselves as a people not by these aberrations of behavior but by the goodness and grace that surround us daily. It is also important that we each take personal responsibility for looking out for one another, caring for one another, lifting one another up when we can, and asking for help when we need it.
A week from today is our national day of Thanksgiving. I am, above all, thankful for all of you and for the community that sustains us.
Please have a restful, peaceful holiday week.
Dr. Tony Frank