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Mourning the loss at Virginia Tech

Published: December 9, 2011
Section: Editorials


We mourn the loss of Virginia Tech police officer Deriek W. Crouse, who died in a campus shooting on Thursday. Crouse joined the university police force in 2007 following the deadliest school shooting in our nation’s history. And now violence has claimed his life.

Police officers place themselves in the line of duty to protect their communities. Their careers and their lives are defined by public service—sacrificing their own security to protect others. In 2007, the nation mourned with Virginia Tech, shocked at the unspeakable massacre that ended with 33 students dead.

Colleges throughout the country have learned much from that tragedy. They have learned how to better prepare for emergencies too horrific to imagine. They have learned the importance of transparent and instant communication with students during times of crisis. And they have learned to re-evaluate the balancing act on college campuses between liberty and security when it comes to arming university police officers.

But when tragedy strikes as it did on Thursday, there is little we can say or do that will ease the pain and suffering and grief Deriek Crouse’s family now suffers. All we can do is hope that in the coming days, we will discover some way to make our colleges safer, some way to learn from this violence. In tragedy, we must search for answers and truth, no matter how painful it is and how challenging it seems.