Is empathy sufficient for tragedy?

Andy Naselli —  April 18, 2007

Last night I read CNN’s “Massacre at Virginia Tech: Promising, Extraordinary Lives Cut Short.” I’m still grieved by the last bit at the end of the article. Tom Brown, VT’s senior associate dean of students, gave this advice:

  • “‘Please, please take care of yourself first. You cannot get your mind back on academics without spending some time taking care of yourselves,’ he said. ‘Go to where you need to go where you have the most love and the best support and I often say, where you can get the best hugs.’”

This advice is so sad because it is not sufficient for tragedy. It consists of nothing but empathy, which compounds the tragedy. What is so sad is that people without Christ really have no where to turn after tragedies like this. (And Christ was not mentioned at VT’s convocation.)

See here for some suggestions on how to respond to this tragedy. More generally, here are some related books that I’ve found especially helpful: