Monday, April 23, 2007
One week ago...
It happened one week ago. At this hour, last Monday, we had just learned how many people actually died in the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech. We knew how many, but not their names. At this hour, families who lost loved ones could still cling to hope. It would take time to identify the bodies and reach their next of kin.

Since last Monday, we've learned much about the killer, Seung-Hui Cho, and his victims. But many questions remain, and tonight we'll try to answer some of them.

Classes resumed today at Virginia Tech. Can you imagine what that first class this morning must have been like for teachers and for students? Heading through the classroom door -- similar to the doors some students barricaded trying to prevent Cho from getting back in. Sitting in their chairs -- identical to the chairs students hid behind.

Not all of the students chose to return, of course, but we'll report on what the day was like for those who did. CNN's Gary Tuchman is going to check-in with one of Cho's former suitemates, Andy Koch. Gary interviewed him the day after the shootings and today Andy was back on campus, trying to be a student again. We'll also have the latest on the investigation and what police have learned from the autopsy reports.

Last Monday, I was in Afghanistan. We had planned a week or reports from Kabul, but after the shootings occurred I came back as fast as I could. Peter Bergen and Nic Robertson have filed some remarkable reports from Afghanistan, and we will put those on in the coming days and weeks.

Tonight, our story mix also includes a new report that shows women earn significantly less than men earlier than anyone thought -- starting in the first year after college. The findings are provocative and CNN's Randi Kaye is working on a fact-check for tonight. We'll also talk to financial guru Suze Orman.

And CNN's Rick Sanchez has been investigating a murder mystery. It's the story of a young American man who was convicted of rape and murder in Nicaragua and sentenced to 30 years in prison, despite evidence that he was two hours away from the scene of the crime when the murder happened. It's a fascinating report. We'll see you at 10 p.m.

-- By Anderson Cooper
Posted By CNN: 2:15 PM ET
  30 Comments
Anderson--

How quickly a week passes for some of us yet we know for friends and family members time is frozen. I am sure they are reliving the terror over and over again in their minds. It's almost like being suspended in time---like the Superman movie hoping and praying for the Earth to reverse it's rotation so we mere mortals might change the course of history. As we all know it just doesn't happen that way. God has a plan---a plan we most often don't understand and most likely never will--however we are also given the ability to accept and go on. Family, friends and faith allow us to reach out for the future and continue our journey one day at a time. In times like this the human goal should be to become--"better not bitter". We that have been given another day should take each opportunity to shine brightly in the place we are given...our lives may be the one thing that reaches into the dark souls of people like Cho. May comfort immerse the campus of VT today an in the weeks and months ahead.
Posted By Anonymous Zann Martin, Tennessee : 2:35 PM ET
Anderson,

What a week. And what a stellar institution Virginia Tech has proved itself to be.
Posted By Anonymous Charlotte D, Stockton CA : 3:00 PM ET
It was just luck that my nephew, a civil engineering graduate student, did not have classes that Monday morning - or he would most likely have been in Norris. He has chosen to return to finish out the semester. He's already told his mother he's nervous about going back.

I don't think they should tear Norris down - it should stand both as a memorial to those who died, and a symbol of determination to those who survived. Perhaps they could rename it and rededicate it to honor those who were lost.

It's the same attitude as on September 11th - we as a nation fought for the freedoms we have - and we won't let anyone take them away from us, not on a college campus or in the financial district of Manhattan.

Go Hokies!

Fran - Mililani, HI
Posted By Anonymous Fran - Mililani, HI : 3:00 PM ET
Anderson,

it seems like it was just yesterday since the tragedy at Virginia Tech unfolded. And yet a week has already passed and much news happened in between that went merely unnoticed because of the scale of the campus massacre.

I actually had been looking forward to your reports from Afghanistan before the news from Virginia broke and all that reporting has been put on hold. I now can't wait to see Peter's and Nic's reports in addition to all the other stories and news ...
I am sure it will be, as most always, an interesting broadcast tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Elke, SW Florida : 3:17 PM ET
Hi Anderson,
You know, I really can not possibly imagine what the first class this morning must have been like for teachers and students at Virginia Tech. Somber, tearful, chilling, emotional and extremely difficult are a few adjectives that come to mind. I am interested in hearing from the students perspective.
Also, I am anxious to hear the reports from Peter Bergen and Nic Robertson about our great soldiers and other stories from the middle east. I am sure the reports will be amazing.
I'm so glad that Randi is reporting on women earning less that men. That is so true and is total B.S.!
What a lot of great stories you have for us tonight. We even get a murder mystery! As always Anderson, real stories from the heart are the greatest wisdom we can recieve. Thanks so much.~
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches, TX : 3:33 PM ET
I admit, you've intrigued me with the new report on women earning less than men even straight out of college. Earlier in my career, it was something I always suspected but could never really prove. However, in the late 90's, my salary mysteriously hiked up with no real apparent reason which, in my mind, substantiated those suspicions. I'm glad that a report has come out in 2007 bringing this issue back to the foreground.

What is most surprising to me isn't that the gap starts right after college, but that the gap appears to get wider the longer one works. So, as a woman whose been working for many years now, how does one really go about finding out if there is a gap? It will be interesting to see what Randi uncovers and I can only hope she doesn't uncover any gaps within her own salary history!
Posted By Anonymous Jolene, St. Joseph, MI : 3:37 PM ET
In a way time flies by.....day after day, week by week which then turns into years but for the families who lost loved ones last week, each day must seem exguishatingly long, time does not fly by, loved ones will never come home.

The students and teachers who went back to classes today are living on a grace that only a higher power can give. Every sound, every door opening must be a ackward nervousness that will only fade with time. Time that flies by really to the outside world. Those outside of "Hokie Nation"

My prayers go out to all the families, friends, students, teachers, and admination of Virginia Tech. Although time has seemed to all but stop......eventually time will fly by for you again.
Posted By Anonymous Megan O. Toronto, ON, Canada : 3:37 PM ET
As a college student ready to graduate, my friends and I are overwhelmed at the idea of the semester coming to an end, so I cannot even begin to imagine the amount of emotion on Virginia Tech's campus as students are finishing school for the year or longer.

College campuses around the country are always and forever in support of the students at VT and we wish them all the best in their endeavors. They are a remarkable bunch, strong and dignified.
Posted By Anonymous Aruna, Minneapolis, MN : 3:39 PM ET
We all think 'why did this happen?' and 'how can we prevent it from happening again?' But it will, somewhere, sometime happen again.

It think's it's because there's capability in every person for evil. That can never change.

My heartfelt sympathy to the families and friends of those who perished last Monday. May they have comfort and peace in their hearts, and may all of us handle whatever life hands us with strength, faith and courage.

p.s. you didn't say where you are for the show tonight !
Posted By Anonymous xtina - chicago IL : 3:40 PM ET
Anderson,

As a viewer I am exhausted by all the Va Tech coverage, I cannot imagine the stress these students are going through. Since the murders last week, I have heard countless interviews with psychiatrists, law enforcement officials, school representatives, students, and others trying to make sense out of this tragedy. In this situation everything must be done to try to determine why Seung-Hui Cho committed these horrible murders to try to prevent it from happening again, but without his witness any conclusions reached would be pure speculation.

Sometimes you are forced to admit that the answer to "why" is beyond your reach.

I thought Gary Tuchman's interview last week with Cho's suitemates was excellent; he has a way of being thorough and engaging without being intrusive. It will be interesting to hear "Andy's" thoughts after this long difficult week.

I look forward to hearing Peter Bergen's and Nic Robertson's reports from Afghanistan. I would also like to know their thoughts regarding the controversy over the construction of the barricade in Baghdad which was halted by the Iraqi government.

I look forward to tonight's reports.

Jo Ann
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 3:46 PM ET
This day last week was a horrible time for this country. I hope that all the families who lost loved ones are getting to actually have some peace away from the media and are getting the help they need for their loss.

I'm glad that you'll have chosen to show the reports from Afghanistan. I was looking forward to your visit there. I hope that you can go back in the near future. I think the soldiers over there really deserve that.

I will deffinately see you tonight!!
Posted By Anonymous Cynthia, Covington, Ga. : 3:50 PM ET
Anderson,
Not sure if this has been addressed, but here goes. For the past month you and your guests have been reporting about the environment and your carbon footnprint. How large of a carbon footprint did you and your crew make by flying thousands of miles to Afghanistan, just to turn around a couple days later. As a person who cares about the environment, to me this is a waste. Couldn't one of the other 150 CNN personell have covered the story just as well as you could have?

You are a fantastic reporter, and I'm sure CNN told you to come back, but I can't stop wondering if you could have anchored from Afghanistan and done just as good of a job. As it happened you didin't get there until Wednesday when all the main stories had been covered and a lot of the media had already gone back to NY.
Posted By Anonymous Kelly Breuer, San Francisco, CA : 4:13 PM ET
I was in school myself when I first heard of it. It really sends a shock wave and you think "How horrible!" Then, with guilt, you say, "I'm glad it wasn't my school." We are now forced to face the reality of campus security and the lack thereof. It's a sad and scary thing.
Posted By Anonymous Alejandra Rodriguez : 4:28 PM ET
Hello Anderson:

A week ago today after learning about the Virgina Tech massacre, I called my daughter at the university she attends and told again how much I love her. I didn't know just minutes before her father had just called her to express those same feelings. I hope many parents called their kids a week ago today to say how much they cherish them. My heart goes out to the Virginia Tech families.

Today, we received letter today the president of the university where she attends. In the letter, the president honored the students and staff from Virginia Tech but also admitted most universities have not been equipped to handle this kind of emergency. I admired her honesty and her commitment to advance the emergency procedures quickly. It is about the same size and student population as Virginia Tech.

In addition, I am pleased AC360 will be reporting on the study on the earnings gap between men and women. I have always told my daughter that my mother and I led the way so she didn't have to face the glass ceiling or discrimination in the workforce. I hope we weren't completely mistaken.
Posted By Anonymous Sharon D., Indianapolis, IN : 7:39 PM ET
I continue to ask myself what I can do to help the families of the victiams. I can't imagine what it's like to be them. I can't imagine talking to someone one minute, and then the next they disapear forever. I hope all of the families know that they have a huge amount of love and support. I am trying to raise money for the families so that I can help them go one with their lives. I also can't imagine how people can go back to school, but I respect them for trying. They must be very brave. God bless the families, friends, and shcoolmates of the victiams of this tragedy, and may the victiams rest in peace.
Posted By Anonymous Amanda Waterville, Ohio : 7:43 PM ET
Stories like this are so emotional that we always need to be careful to see if we are being too insensitive or intrusive. I am glad the show is slowly moving away from the story so that the family and friends can heal and recover in peace.
On the other hand, I am so excited for Peter and Nic's reports. They are stellar reporters, and though Anderson will not be there, I am sure these two created wonderful segments for the viewers. I am glad to see that 360 is keeping its promise to spotlight Afghanistan, the "forgotten war".
Posted By Anonymous Michelle Kang, Edison, NJ : 7:58 PM ET
What are women to do? We have to pick one, career or children.

Equal rights is not limited to poor countries and people with dark skin.

Women have done well to advance equal rights, much more still remains to be done, and transformation will only come when men and women work together to make it happen.

Thanx for everything. Take Care.
Posted By Anonymous Karen, Boston, MA : 8:11 PM ET
This tragic incident brings to the forefront the importance of mental health and intervention for those who are suffering from a psychological disorder or illness. Parents, siblings, family members must get more involved and take assertive measures to help a loved one in need of professional counseling and/or medication. There's a lot we can learn from this tragedy; these young people did not die in vain.

No, I honestly cannot imagine what the first day of class would be like. And I'm not sure what I would do if I were a student at Virginia Tech. I'm sure security will be maximized from now on.
I look forward to your show tonight, Anderson, wherever you may be.
Posted By Anonymous Mariela, New York, NY : 8:18 PM ET
What a long week it has been. I can't imagine how the students at VA Tech feel, but I bet they are closer than ever. They've stayed so strong and proved to be great leaders in this tough situation. Virginia Tech is in our prayers.

I'm also looking forward to the new reports from Nic and Peter in Afghanistan, it's been a while since we've heard from Kabul.

I hope the new report about women earning less than men straight out of college is UNTRUE. Unfortunately though in many cases it turns out to be very true, but I hope amazing women can change that.
Posted By Anonymous Liz Y Toledo, OH : 8:59 PM ET
Hi Anderson,
It sounds like quite a full line of topics tonight on AC360. I hope you have the 60 minutes interview on this week! I was just speechless. What a light bulb moment I had...I had no idea the black community felt this way about snitching! It was a real eye opener.
My thoughts and prayers continue for the people of VTech and for our troops serving our country. Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 9:07 PM ET
Hi Anderson,

You are working an awful lot!

Yes, women in the working-force earn a lot less then men, which we call with a fancy term: "the glass ceiling effect."
But the good side is that female independent entrepreneurs do a lot better then woman working for a boss!

Have a good one!
Posted By Anonymous Ratna Sadal, New York, NY : 9:47 PM ET
Hey Anderson

This is only the first of many days that will be touched by this event. When you lose someone, it is worse in the days after the funerals are over and everyone has gone back to their everyday routine. That's when you notice how things have changed; you notice the person isn't there, you expect to see them but then the realization hits you once again that they will never be there again.

All those who have been affected by this need our thoughts and prayers in the weeks and months ahead. I second xtina's sentiments, "May they have comfort and peace in their hearts, and may all of us handle whatever life hands us with strength, faith and courage." From her lips to God's ears!
Posted By Anonymous Christina, Windber, PA : 10:08 PM ET
Anderson,

With all of the overwhelming media coverage concerning the VA Tech shootings this weekends CNN's programming of the tragic event was again all to much, experts will study what perhaps led this killer to carry out this nightmare, it's time to let the victims families grieve their unspeakable loss, call it fate for now ,for you to be hear instead of Afganistan, your compassionate reporting was needed .

Maritza
Posted By Anonymous Maritza, San Jose, Ca : 10:40 PM ET
Anderson,

I can not imagine what it must be like for the students and professors to be returning to classes, it takes courage and strength, which as they have shown a communities strength is immeasurable. I wish them all the best in whatever they chose to do.

It looks like its going to be an informative and interesting week Anderson, a murder mystery that grabs my attention!
Posted By Anonymous Tracy-Marie Anderson, N.S, Canada : 11:11 PM ET
I graduated with 3 degrees (2 Bachelor's and 1 master's with a 3.99 GPA). After working several jobs at large corporations, I received a job offer from a Fortune 100 company that was for a part technical/part management position in accounting computer systems. I had assumed given my advanced education and the position I was hired for that I would at least be paid as much or a little more than the people that worked for me (all men). Not so. Even though my pay was good, the men made on average 15 to 20 % more with less education and fewer skills and they put in fewer hours than I did. The reason for this disparity when I asked - the men had been there longer. Seemed endurance was more cherished than a superior education, skills, etc.
(And this was from a company who bragged about how they were a great place for women to work!)

I found out later that the other women in my position were in the same position, many of whom had been there just as long as the men who worked for me. So the gender gap does not surprise me; and yes, it is getting bigger.

I did not have children to compete with my job, and children were not in my plans; I often worked 16 to 20 hours a day. And I asked for larger salaries, etc. None of this did any good, even though I was considered a critical resource in my department. Of course, now the problem is that all these computing jobs are going to India, so finally I have equal pay - ZERO!

Talking to your employer does no good - you are told to be thankful you have a job. And in computing that is a very real consideration.

Thanks for your report on this issue. Very timely, and very pertinent. Hard enough to make ends meet without this disparity.
Posted By Anonymous Annie Kate, Birmingham AL : 11:38 PM ET
Has anyone considered that Seung-Hui Cho had multiple personality disorder? He seems to have expressed something like this with his various name changes and diverse (and odd) behaviors.
Posted By Anonymous Wendy, Eureka CA : 11:57 PM ET
Dear Anderson

The families and community at Virginia Tech have reacted so calmly and rationally that Koreans are touched and moved. Besides they make us think of what would happen if we were in their positions? Would we be as elegant as they are?

Our hearts and prayers are with the victims and the families. See you on CNN International.
Posted By Anonymous Gui-Hyun Nahm / South Korea : 6:15 AM ET
It has been a very difficult week for America.
The memories would be hard to erase if ever.
It’s not ever easy for those who have been left behind, to move on, continue living without those friends and loved ones in their lives; only in their memories they remain alive.
Is this an act of evil?
Or is this a person so misunderstood, so disconnected and wasn’t given the proper attention when needed?
I guess we are only left with conjectures.
My prayers go out to everyone in Virginia Tech and all of you in America.
Posted By Anonymous LaiPengFoong, Penang, Malaysia : 11:05 AM ET
My husband and I are both Hokies. Our affliation with Va Tech goes back to 1980 when John entered as a Freshman in Electrical Engineering. He returned to Tech as a Prof in 1989 and taught there for 11 years. I went to Tech as an 'older student' and graduated with my BS in 1997. So we have, I feel, a unique perspective of our school. We have never been more proud to be associated with it as this past week. In that vein I can honestly say that the grace you have seen from our fellow Hokies can be summed up in two words: Ut Prosim. Our school motto: To serve.
These are not just words to Hokies. It is our mission, it is our duty and it is truly expected of us.
After leaving Tech my husband worked for a defense contractor. He took what was supposed to be a temporary leave from that job to work for the Department of Defense. After 9-11 he decided to stay with the government. People were puzzled as to why he would leave such a position for less money and more work. Our school mates understood when we answered: Ut Prosim.
This concept was drilled into us. Time and time again we heard the term and were urged to act upon it. One day I was sitting outside of a classroom where a well-known professor was teaching. She was upset with her students because she had urged them to do some extra activity outside the class and, apparently, few showed up to participate. She was really letting them have it. I had to laugh. But then she said the words that were very serious and have stuck with me ever since. She lowered her voice and said: You WILL devote yourself to the greater good, you WILL participate in the world. Not because *I* said so, not because *I* expect it of you...but because by the time you leave this campus you will expect it of yourself. Why? Because you are Hokies!
Ut Prosim.
We ARE Virginia Tech!!!!
Posted By Anonymous Judy Bay Barneveld NY : 12:01 PM ET
Anderson,

My prayers go out to all the students and families who lost their friends or loved ones. That school will never be the same again and will surely go down in history, but not for a good reason. I cannot imagine how hard it must be for the remaining students to go back to their classes, but life must go on!

Thanks to all the reporters at CNN for doing such a good job on keeping us citizens informed not only of this tragedy, but around the whole world as well. Personally, I am glad not to hear of Anna Nichole Smith any more!!
Posted By Anonymous Julie, Sacramento, CA : 2:52 PM ET
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