A question unanswered

John Lawler

One day, waking up an hour late for your communication ethics class means an absence in the record book. Simply and quantitatively, the absence means little more than a lower grade and maybe an awkward e-mail asking for that day’s notes. However, despite its inconsequence, few can deny the slightly guilty feeling in the pit of your stomach saying, “Now why’d you go and do that?”

However, as weird as life is, waking up an hour late for your communication ethics class on another day can make all the difference in the world — it can be the difference between sitting in a lecture, unaware of a tragedy unfolding outside your classroom’s door, or it can just as easily be standing awestruck in your apartment’s living room, half-eaten toaster strudel in hand, staring blankly at the local news. As one person reads the headline on the TV, or another quietly flips open a cell phone wondering why that friend from high school is suddenly texting you, waking up an hour late has the potential to bring about a life-stirring moment.

Life is weird, you know?

Simply and quantitatively put, the Longhorn community lost a member yesterday. But few can deny the discomforting feeling within, echoing a sentiment we’ve all heard before, “Now why’d he go and do that?”

We may never know what led to the tragic events of yesterday’s shooting. With all honesty, I’d say we never will. To be sure, the physical events, transactions and timeline will be uncovered, but what actually led to a shooting on a campus unfamiliar to violence for so many years, seems impossible to define. It leaves more questions than answers.
So as we move on, trying to return to our tests, delayed labs and papers, I can’t think of anything else to do except reflect on a question unanswered. A friend of mine put it this way: “Now is not the time to debate the causation or implications of such an event, but instead a moment to reflect on a question of life.” Policies, procedures and philosophies aside, human life can end at any given moment. As to why this happens, or why it needs to happen, I’d have to say we’ll probably never know.
We faced such a question yesterday on campus, one which I am afraid we are not capable of answering.