Hero

in

(similar but different - more about the holocaust survivor that gave his life. I decided to post this because of when looking up some of the site meter info I came upon this hateful/horrid/antisemtic site with multiply comments that left me with a very bad feeling.The last article of the three makes some interesting points about the VT massacre, violence and evil.)

BY CRUEL FATE, A SURVIVOR DIES A HERO

Gabrielle Birkner
New York Sun, April 18, 2007

In a cruel twist of fate, an engineering lecturer who survived the Holocaust and fled communist Romania was shot dead Monday morning during the massacre that killed 32 at Virginia Tech.

Witnesses have said Liviu Librescu, 76, died trying to keep the gunman out of his second-floor classroom and that his efforts may have saved the lives of some of his students, whom he encouraged to escape through the windows. "He certainly showed his true character trying to protect the kids," an engineering professor at Virginia Tech, Joseph Schetz, told The New York Sun. "I'm not surprised by what he did. He was a people person." A makeshift shrine with flowers and a photograph of Librescu was set up on the Blacksburg, Va., campus yesterday.

Librescu was one of two Virginia Tech faculty members who were killed when a 23-year-old student from South Korea, Cho Seung-Hui, went on a shooting rampage in a dormitory, West Ambler Johnston Hall, and in classrooms at Norris Hall. The head of the engineering science and mechanics department, Ishwar Puri, said of Librescu: "He was an exceptionally tolerant man who mentored scholars from all over our troubled world."

Librescu survived the Holocaust in a labor camp in Transnistria and in a Jewish ghetto in Focsani, Romania. After World War II, he studied in Romania, earning degrees in aeronautical engineering and a doctorate in fluid mechanics. He worked for the state aerospace agency but faced roadblocks in Romania because he refused to pledge allegiance to the communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu.

After Prime Minister Begin of Israel intervened on behalf of Jews living in Romania, Librescu and his family were allowed to immigrate to Israel in 1978. There he worked at Israeli universities before taking what was to be a sabbatical year at Virginia Tech more than 20 years ago. He instead decided to put down roots.

An engineering professor at Virginia Tech who had known Librescu for about two decades, Rakesh Kapania, said his colleague "was not known to speak about his past." In an interview, Mr. Kapania said Librescu was a "good teacher" and a "kind-hearted person" who would be missed by his colleagues and students. A longtime lecturer at the university, Librescu was teaching a class this semester in solid mechanics. He was a frequent contributor to academic journals and was to deliver the keynote lecture at a scientific conference in Taipei, Taiwan, in June.

"I know he did very good research," an engineering professor at Virginia Tech, Mayuresh Patil, said. "You can look at his list of publications. He was very prolific." Mr. Patil, 33, said Librecu was well-liked by his younger colleagues because he was supportive of their research but never patronizing. "He was a well-known, well-respected guy," Mr. Patil, who first met Librescu about 10 years ago, said.

Librescu is survived by his wife, Marlena Librescu, and two sons, Arieh Librescu and Joseph Librescu. "I lost my best friend," Mrs. Librescu said yesterday. "He was a great person who loved teaching more than anything." Librescu will be buried in Israel.


PROFESSOR’S VIOLENT DEATH CAME WHERE HE SOUGHT PEACE

Colin Moynihan
New York Times, April 19, 2007

Prof. Liviu Librescu faced many trials in his 76 years, growing up and living in Romania. There were the Nazis, who imprisoned his family when he was a child. Then there was the totalitarian regime of Nicolae Ceausescu, which forbade him from working when he refused to join the Communist Party.

But it was a trial in a most unlikely place that proved to be deadly. On Monday, Professor Librescu faced danger when a student armed with pistols and the determination to kill approached the room where the professor was teaching a class in solid mechanics.

Professor Librescu never moved from the door of Room 204 in Norris Hall at Virginia Tech, witnesses said, even as the gunman, Cho Seung-Hui, was shooting. Directing his students to escape through windows, Professor Librescu was fatally shot.

Yesterday, a funeral was held for the professor in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn. Professor Librescu’s body was taken there by Chesed Shel Emes, a Jewish organization that specializes in helping people in times of trauma, said Rabbi Edgar Gluck, a member of the group, who said that the professor had been struck by five bullets. The professor’s body was to be flown to Israel last night and he will be buried before sundown today in Raanana, near Tel Aviv, Rabbi Gluck said.

About 300 people showed up at the Shomrei Hachomos, an Orthodox chapel. They arrived to recognize a remarkable, resilient life and an act of courage that ended that life. “This was a man who gave his ultimate for his fellow man,” Assemblyman Dov Hikind of Brooklyn told the mourners. “He gave his life for his students.”

In Blacksburg, Va., one of those students, Caroline Merrey, 22, described some of the chaos that unfolded inside Room 204. “We had heard the gunfire coming from the classroom behind us, and we just reacted to it and headed for the windows,” Ms. Merrey said. “Professor Librescu never made an attempt to leave.” Ms. Merrey said she and about 20 other students scrambled through the windows as Professor Librescu shouted for them to hurry. She said she felt sure his actions helped save lives.

“He’s a part of my life now and forever,” she said. “I’m changed. I’m not the person I was before Monday.”

Speaking to a reporter by telephone from Israel, Professor Librescu’s son, Yossi Librescu, 40, a computer engineer, said he took some solace in the appreciation being expressed for his father. “He was passionate about life,” Mr. Librescu said. “He had no fear of death.”

He said that his father was born in Romania in 1930. After surviving the Holocaust, Mr. Librescu said, his father became a refusenik in Romania and lost his job as an aerospace engineer. But in 1976, Liviu Librescu secretly published a book in Norway that advanced a theory of aerospace technology that grabbed the attention of others in the field. In 1978, after lobbying by groups in Israel, he was permitted to leave Romania and settle there. He began teaching at Virginia Tech in 1985, university officials said.

Mr. Librescu said that the bucolic environs of Blacksburg provided a respite from the rigors of his father’s earlier life. His house was built on the edge of a forest and he took long walks daily, enjoying nature. He listened to classical music and settled into the calm, productive rhythms of his new existence. “He found Virginia to be a place that allowed him to be inspired,” Mr. Librescu said.

Professor Librescu’s coffin, draped in black cloth, was wheeled into the chapel just after 2 p.m. Mr. Hikind spoke briefly and another man sang a sad lament in Hebrew. At 2:18, several men lifted the coffin to their shoulders and carried it outside.

The professor’s wife, Marlena, stood outside and spoke about her husband. “His life was only his family and his students,” Ms. Librescu said. “Everybody told me he was like a father.”

Down the block, men dressed in black marched toward New Utrecht Avenue, carrying the coffin. As the N train screeched overhead, the words of the Kaddish were recited.

“He was always, always helping,” Ms. Librescu said. “But he was not able to help himself.”


NO POLICY CAN OUTWIT THE GRIM REAPER

David Frum
Daily Telegraph, April 18, 2007

A quiet spring day on a rural campus—then suddenly shots, shouting, chaos, death. Our minds cannot absorb such fathomless violence. We need to impose order on it, find explanations. And so, within minutes of the mass murder at Virginia Tech University, a great conversation erupted as Americans—and the rest of the world—tried to make sense of the senseless.

It was a classic American crime: an angry loner, enraged by the failure of a love affair, turns his anger on the world around him. Think of John Muhammad, the Washington sniper of 2001; John Hinckley, the would-be assassin of Ronald Reagan; Charles Whitman, the clocktower killer at the University of Texas, whose 1966 rampage was until this week the deadliest campus crime in US history.

Such stories are too random and terrifying for the mind to absorb. So, instead, we attempt to squeeze these crimes into our pre-existing categories and use them to advance our ideological agendas and thereby apportion blame. In the hours since Monday's attacks, three such categories have been presented to the American public.

The one probably most familiar to British audiences attributes killings such as those at Virginia Tech to the easy availability of firearms in the US. There is some truth in this. The murderer, Cho Seung-Hui, appears to have legally purchased a Glock 9mm automatic pistol shortly before the attack. Had it been more difficult to buy such a weapon, perhaps his crime could have been prevented—or at least rendered less lethal.

There is also an element of plausibility to the second explanation—the feminist one. Even in countries where guns are difficult to obtain, male sexual jealousy does daily, deadly damage. The British Home Office contends that domestic violence kills more young women worldwide than war, cancer and motor vehicle accidents.

Then there's the third and final explanation—immigration. Seung-Hui was a Korean-born resident alien. Aliens increasingly drive the US crime problem: about one third of California's prison population is first- or second-generation immigrant, as is 29 per cent of the federal prison population. Salvadoran and other Central American gangs commit the worst violence in many American cities. The finger of blame is easily pointed.

So which shall we blame? Guns? The male psyche? Immigration? None of the above? Or some of all of the above?…

[But] why are we blaming anything or anyone for this crime other than the criminal himself?

Crime can be reduced. Since 1990, the number of homicides in the US has been cut from almost 25,000 a year to about 15,000. Schools have launched programmes to predict potentially violent students. Some require transparent backpacks, and others have instituted sophisticated psychological profiling. All will pounce on any student joke about copy-catting Columbine. Meanwhile, many local police departments have attempted to modernise their tactics.

America will try to learn lessons from this latest tragedy too. But there is no escaping the hardest lesson: that death lies waiting around the corner for us all. No public policy can rescue us from that grim human fact—or the equally fearful obligation to walk with courage under the burden of the reality of evil.

3 comments:

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I'm glad I believe in an afterlife, or life of the spirit. It helps me at times like this. It also reminds me that every day I don't have a tragedy in my life is a good one, no matter what. I pray for people daily.

Liquid said...

I must agree with Mary....every day with out personal tragedy is a blessing.
So why do I feel so selfish using the word "personal" in that statement?
Aren't we ALL (...well, MOST of us I insist on believing...)effected by the horrors of this world! Whether it be directly or indirectly?
It hurts my heart so.
I hope it is true that God counts each and every one of our tears.

dakotablueeyes said...

omgoodness. That first one was sad sad sad. Oh I tagged you on my blog