Thursday, April 19, 2007
Student: I'll miss my 'brilliant' mentor

Christine Hermann, one of Granata's former students, shared a video of Granata teaching in Norris Hall in 2003.

I-Reporters continue to enhance and provide context to the Virginia Tech tragedy story. This video, which was sent in by Christine Herrmann and Scott England, pays tribute to Kevin Granata, one of the top engineering researchers in the United States.

England writes: "That video shows Dr. Granata very true to life, teaching others and loving what he did. Several people have asked how I knew him, so I'll use the same simile I told them.

In graduate school, your advisor is like your father. They fund your education, introduce you to the field, correct you when you make mistakes, and show you how to be an outstanding academian. For the rest of your life your work reflects on their's and their work weighs on you. Dr. Granata was a brilliant and prolific, young researcher who's hard work and ambition enabled dozens of students to pursue graduate degrees, and Monday we all lost a father."

See more I-Report tributes to the victims here.

-- By Tyson Wheatley, Producer
Posted By CNN: 11:41 AM ET
When is Enough, Enough?

I was struck by this most recent tragedy at Virginia Tech as I have been struck by our countries other most recent tragedies, with the same thought, how do we stop this from happening again? At first it seemed like an impossible task. That there is nothing I can do to protect our youth, the future of our country, and our selves from enduring more senseless violence and the experts confirmed my feelings by saying that we must expect things like this to happen again. But as I watched the endless coverage of the VT massacre featuring the students and faculty who survived and those who did not, the families directly affected by the senseless acts, and the plethora of information uncovered about the vigilante who inflicted the pain upon our country I realized there is something, staring me, and the rest of us, right in the face that we can do to prevent these atrocities from continuing to occur.
The students and their resilience was my first clue. They are not violent or angry. They are not spewing racist comments about South Koreans. Their sense of community is so strong and so true in their hearts that in the face of death they find strength in one another and move forward in light and not in the darkness of ignorance.
The stories of the selfless heroics by those in the classrooms was my next clue. The students who risked their lives to protect their fellow students by barricading doors made me proud. The professor who used his own body as a barricade and sacrificed his life to give the students in his classroom time so they could jump from the windows truly stuck me. This professor had the fortitude of spirit to stand up against the threat of death as he had before against Hitler and Communism and for him to fall at the hand of one lunatic after surviving the most horrible man this world will hopefully ever know made my heart ache, for his spirit is what we all need. A spirit that goes on in the face of incomprehensible violence and is willing to do what it takes to save who you can when you can no matter the price.
So what can be done to end the seemingly endless string of senseless tragedies and horrors that are plaguing our nation?
We, each and every one of us, parents, students, teachers, adults, children, government, employers, employees, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and strangers must all be better human beings. We have the power as Americans, as Human Beings, to stop these incidents from occurring by eliminating the environment that creates the types of people who inflict these tragedies upon us all. Each of us must make it our personal goal to be good to one another. To stop ridiculing those who are different from us. To stop dealing with our feelings with violence. To stop blaming others and start owning up to our own contributions to the situation. To stop finding ways to delineate our selves from one another and instead find ways to relate and connect with one another. To find compassion when there is no understanding. To be kind and fair. To be gracious and not cruel . To trust and not be afraid. To be trustworthy and hopeful. To have faith in one another and bring out the good in other people. To be tolerant and forgive. To teach and not pass the job on to someone who just doesn’t exist. To be responsible and conscious and not passive and unaware that we live our lives as part of a wonderful community that is reaching out to each one of us for help as it suffers the repercussions of the way we live our lives in silent denial of the fact that we all want it to be better but refuse to make the effort to make it better because we are tired and preoccupied with the stringent demands of seeking the quintessential American dream. But as we all have seen, the price we pay for ignoring our conscience is that we must continue to endure these horrific incidents.
I pledge to be better. I pledge to find compassion where I do not find understanding. I pledge to teach my daughter how to be a better person, how to cope with the challenges life will give her and how to treat other human beings. I pledge to be an example to all those I meet and to not be part of the creation of another monster who can destroy the fabric of our society and force our government and authorities to infringe upon the freedoms of %99.9 of law abiding citizens in the attempt to ensure safety from individuals who have no regard for the laws of this land or any other.
We do not have to stand for the occurrence of these types of incidents, no matter how big or small. But we must not stand by and wait for someone else, or some other mechanism to fix the problem for us. We all must bring positivity to our world and make it better for we are the ones who make it what it is. We are not helpless. We are full of power and we must take that power each of us has and do something good with it for it is our responsibility to use our powers for the betterment of human kind and not let them fall to the way side and allow evil the opportunity to do as it pleases with humanity.
I ask each one of you who read this to take a moment and think what you can to do be a better human being. There is something each one of us can do to be better and no matter how slight or occasional your action is, it can and will make a difference.
Take my hand and make a pledge to be better human beings and to raise a better generation of children who will not have to endure these horrific events and can live the lives of which we all dream.
Please share this or your thoughts with someone. Our ability to communicate is our greatest talent.
Thank you.
Kristin Snyder
Posted By Anonymous Kristin Snyder, Taylor, Michigan : 11:56 AM ET

It is so very true how professors make lasting impacts on students' lives. Last week I found out the professor that had a profound influence on my college education died at age 83. Though not taken through murder, I did take time to reflect on what he gave to me as a young adult and the years of contributions to decades of students.

Because of this professor, I had a mentor on campus that fought for me to remain in college and a cheerleader through my first job outside of the walls of the university.

I am sorry for the loss of your respected professor. Carry on his expertise and honor him through your success as engineers.
Posted By Anonymous Sharon D., Indianapolis, IN : 12:08 PM ET
My heart goes out to friends and family of the V.T. tragedy. I also feel very sad for Cho's family- what a burden they must now carry.
I think it should be made a requisite in all high schools and again in college, for students to take life skills courses. Younger grades should be mandated to take necessary courses like how to balance a check book, using credit wisely, dealing with peer pressure, etc. I'm not a teacher or life coach, so I cannot guess age limits to also teach anger and stress management skills, interviewing skills and how to properly choose a vocation.
My sister in law from Ukraine has been here 3 yrs. I recently asked her how her perception of Americans has changed since living here. She stated that she used to think we led an easy life and money just fell from the sky to us. She now states that she realizes how hard Americans work and how stressful we make our lives. She says we don't enoy life like other nationalities . We impose so much pressure on ourselves to live beyond our means to make our children have an easier life. Obviously it's not working, even immigrants fall prey to our harried lifestyle.
My nephew is in college and says many of his friends have returned to college saying "I don't know what I was thinking when I chose my course study." Many are returning to pursue another career path. (Poor parents-oh, that's another requisite-how not to overextend your college loans, for those students paying for college in that manner).
College is a wonderful time of life, and shouldn't be overshadowed with fear for one's life on campus or in the classroom. My best to all educators in helping shape our future and to all students- learn well.
Posted By Anonymous Mary Turner- Huntsville, Alabama : 1:06 PM ET
I think this is wholly tacky and inappropriate to show Cho's videos at length. NBC should be ashamed for showing these videos and should issue an apology to the parents and students in Virginia for deepening an already painful wound. Media sensationalism and the drive to sell has far overridden moral values and taste. How would the NBC executives feel if their children were murdered, and the killer was "supported" by playing, at length, his disturbing, mentally ill rants?
Posted By Anonymous Christian from LA : 1:52 PM ET
I am a college student, and I am understand that what happened at Virginia Tech this week was horrific and will live in the hearts of the people in that university community forever. With that being said...I think it's time for the media to let it rest. Let the victims and their families grieve. Let Cho's family grieve. Let Virginia Tech get on the road to recovering from this devastating loss.
On the other hand I am also a media student so I also understand the jobs and responsibilities of those working in the media. I just feel like the media have to realize at some point that they are humans dealing with the emotions of other humans. Ultimately we are all Americans, and it's at times like these that we need to put ourselves aside for a while and focus on those who are suffering. Don't keep showing these videos and photos. Stop glorifying "the deadliest shooting in American history." Let's start looking forward.
Posted By Anonymous Lindsay, Baton Rouge, Louisiana : 2:57 PM ET
Thank you Kristin Snyder from Michigan for your inspiring entry.
Posted By Anonymous Michele - Newark, DE : 3:13 PM ET
It is inevitable that at the end of this, we still won't have gotten to the real issues. Mostly, on any news site now, I see one of three things (1) memories and tributes to the victims, (2) politics & gun laws and (3) pointing fingers/ passing blame.

A major issue that is being missed is why aren't we more concerned with the state of the mental health of Americans? Something good should come out of this tragedy, and I don't think creating another gun law or chastising the local police counts. We need to increase efforts into caring for individuals - giving them a safe way to get out their anger or frustration. As a graduate student in the public health field, I realize how crucial it is to treat mental health problems. I believe that EVERY person should have someone to talk to. I believe that everyone should have a yearly mental health check up as well as their yearly physical health check up. Unfortunately, it takes disasters such as this to bring these issues to the media and to the public.

Let's not turn this loss into politics and a blame game - let's focus on the truly fixable issue behind it: the mental health of America. I think if we improve in the arena of treating mental health, we can minimize sensless deaths such as these.
Posted By Anonymous Laura G, Providence, RI : 3:47 PM ET
Dear Tyson,

I don't think anyone fully realizes just how much impact one life can have on another until that life is gone.

Just as Kevin Granata's life had a positive and lasting effect on the lives of his students, sadly, his absence will have an equally profound effect.

It is tragic to think about how many students will be deprived of the wisdom and encouragement of Dr. Granata and the other teachers murdered in this senseless massacre.

However, I am certain that the spirit and ambition of Dr. Granata and his colleagues will live on in the works of their many grateful students.

"They are not dead who live in the hearts they leave behind"~ Tuscarora proverb

Jo Ann
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 4:03 PM ET
As Dave of Austin, TX would put it, I think Kristin Snyder, Taylor, Michigan's comments about all of us "being better to make a better world" are "spot-on"!! Her words are absolutely, positively TRUE! Thank you Kristin! You made my (and, I'm sure many others') day! Bless you! Bless all of you/us here! And let's not "hate Cho", ok? Rise above, as Kristin has told/shared with us all!
Posted By Anonymous Mark, Sacramento, CA : 4:12 PM ET
Re: Kristin's wonderful words, thoughts and ideas to "make a better world": great words, Kristin!

I also think young people should be required to take a MANNERS/POLITENESS course also. Teach them NOT to cuss and use vulgarity (N-word?!?, f-word, 4-letter words??). We have "relaxed" everything so much, "it's all about me, me, me, money, $$$". The "right of the individual" has usurped and overcome the right(s) of the GROUP. We are a self-centered society because we have been raised that way and bombarded with the messages and images that have created this shallow, greedy society and culture we live in today. The almighty pursuit of $$ and power drives our national world. Our society produces individuals like Cho. It's gonna take a LOT of work and effort to change things here in America to avoid more of this kind of stuff happening. It truly is, collectively, all our faults, as Kristin said. We are ALL TO BLAME for this happening...
Posted By Anonymous Sam, Houston, TX : 4:18 PM ET
A year before I finished my doctoral dissertation, my minor professor died of cancer. She rekindled my love of teaching. She made me think about issues in higher education administration (my minor is Higher Education) that no one else did. She taught me in her dying about what really matters in this life (and it's not the PhD or the publications). I am exactly twenty years younger than her (our birthday is the same-how cool was that?). After my best friend died in the middle of my degree program there were days when she and my major professor (who will always be amazing) literally held me in one piece. When I defended my dissertation, I felt her presence in the room. My major prof told me afterwards that my minor prof's things were in the room so part of her was literally with me (my major prof didn't want to make me cry before my defense, though). I still ask myself at times what my minor prof would have done when I'm in the midst of a career issue and don't know what to do. I get her answer in my mind knowing what she told me while she was alive. And I'm good. My birthday is extra sweet because it was her day, too. Graduate advisors do become our moms, mentors, gurus, sounding boards, crying towels, and saints for putting up with and guiding us (at least mine have to be with the tough stuff I endured during my program). I got to tell mine bye. I still cry for her once in a while. I can't fathom that either of my advisors would have been taken away so cruelly in an instant. I cannot imagine the kind of educator I would have become without them. The work I do is testament to who they helped me become. And for my prof that died, it is how I honor her.
Posted By Anonymous Tammy C., Berwick, LA : 5:36 PM ET
I would hope that the other news outlets would follow in Fox News' announcement that they would cease airing the clips from Cho's videos (but they reserved the right to change their mind of course if they thought something was newsworthy).

Ratings are not worth adding to the torment of the survivors. The students, faculty, administrators, loved ones of Virginia Tech. Not to mention Cho's family. Does the public really need to know EVERYTHING?

I am so pleased to see the tributes emerging. I think these tributes will serve a much healthier purpose - I think they will help the nation to begin the healing process. I just can't imagine how seeing those chilling images cah be healthy for any of us. I am 34 and live 3.5 hours and it's having an effect on me. Imagine an 18 year old who was in the next building???

Please focus more on the tributes such as these.
Posted By Anonymous Virginia E - Richmond, VA : 7:02 PM ET
A behind the scenes look at "Anderson Cooper 360°" and the stories it covers, written by Anderson Cooper and the show's correspondents and producers.

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