Out of sadness, new hopeSix days have passed since the Virginia Tech massacre, and time is healing the wounds. Sadness has ebbed, and hope is rising in its place. That Americans showed a mature response to the accident, Koreans shared their grief and condolences and a sincere effort to prevent another tragedy from happening by both sides has contributed to a new hope.
Among the 33 stones on the grass field of Virginia Tech University, one was for the killer, Cho Seung-hui. Letters from across America grieve about the desperate isolation of the shooter and hope that his soul rests in peace. They showed concern and generosity to the crippled soul that committed the heinous crime.
Immediately after the incident, Koreans worried about adverse reactions. Yet nothing of noticeable importance has happened so far, and Americans have showed concern for the Koreans’ anxiety.
Americans consoled Koreans, especially those in the United States, saying Koreans should not be ashamed about Cho’s individual act. But Koreans felt differently. Koreans grieved and felt sorry about the accident, as part of their close solidarity that is beyond Western understanding.
The New York Times once commented that Koreans hold a collective guilt due to their strong nationalism. Americans did not ignore the sympathy from Korea. Many thanks to Koreans were sent from the dean of Virginia Tech, the university newspaper, residents of Virginia and other Americans.
As Koreans felt sorry and Americans were grateful, both sides did what was required. However, there is not yet a complete assurance that no backlash will happen. As they are also human, some Americans may hold a negative image about Koreans due to Cho’s video clips. Both parties must now make a conscious effort to rise to the challenge of overcoming unwanted repercussions. The United States is not merely another foreign country. Millions of Koreans live there and call it their homeland. For many families with relations in Korea, this country is more than just an ally. Cho’s lamentable soul reminds us of these facts. Korean compatriots in the United States will help out the society there, and the rest of the Americans will embrace them as a family in their own community.