April 20, 2007


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To anyone who feels that MD is characterizing the media unfairly, google the incident. He has reason to resent the way the incident was handled by the press. His feelings, his blog. Them's the rules.

MD, thank you for sharing your story.


What a sad, beautiful post. Thanks for sharing it.


Wow. Just Wow.

ray lee

Hey MD,

This was truly a great post. I was involved in gangs for a bit when I was really young (and stupid) and I was almost shot a couple of times. I didn't really have any PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder), but I think that it was just me fighting them and keeping them inside of me. With these experiences and many fights, I unconsciously learned to be automatically become immune to sadness and emotion pain.

Even 9/11 didn't affect me at that moment and I was right there when it happened. All these years, none of it bothered me at all--until I saw the movie WTC, which for whatever reason, brought out all the emotions that were left dorment. I realize that I respond emotionally to movies so when I see people getting shot at, each bang leaves a weird impression on me. The experiences at the movie theater really help me to bring out random emotions that I hold inside of me.

Anyways, thank you for your post. Though it doesn't help me, I am positive that it will help everyone who experienced it.

-ray leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee


Your personal empathy and your selfless advice is extremely touching, MD. Thanks for writing this post. In its own way, it's one of the most powerful things I've read about this terrible ordeal.

Your ability to make us laugh and yet always think about the larger aspects of our lives is truly inspiring. Thanks for it all.

Mama Nabi

MD, thanks for sharing... what an awful ordeal.

And yes, when journalists are more interested in the ratings and beating the other station to a tidbit than they are in being human beings, they truly are being bottom-feeding scumbags... and are no different from the ones who call themselves journalists while actually working as leeches for tabloids.

Rick B.

Thanks for sharing your experience, MD. I had a near life-threatening car accident when I was in college. I was lucky to escape with my life. Like you, I came to realize how precious life really is and the whole ordeal changed my entire perspective.

It's made all the difference in my life.


Incredible words of comfort, Pierre. Very brave of you to share your own experience with those who really need something with which they can relate and help them deal.


Thank you for this. I've been through 2 life-shattering events - a shooting at my workplace in 98, which left one dead and around 7 injured; and the disappearance (later found out to be the kidnap, rape, murder, dismemberment, and burning) of a friend.

You're absolutely spot-on about how it creates a "band of brothers (and sisters)", and that those people will understand you in ways that no one else does. These are the people that I can call and say "I saw someone today who reminded me of Shannon and it freaked me out" or "Someone brought in balloons to work and a couple of them popped and I nearly had a panic attack". I'm not in contact with these people on a daily basis anymore, but I know 100% that I can reach out to them any time I need to and they'll be there.

The rest of it rings true, also, but it's taken a lot longer for me to return somewhat to normal.

Suburban Turmoil

Wow, Pierre. This was powerful.

As a former member of the bottom-feeding scumbags, I can say your advice is dead-on. Even those of us reporters who are (or were, in my case) truly sympathetic to victims- even we had a job to do and incredible pressure from our bosses to get the tears and the excruciating details on camera. And we knew that if we took a stand and refused to do it, they'd simply hire someone else who would and we'd be out of the job we worked our asses off to get. It was disgusting and horrible and really the only reason I jumped at the first opportunity to leave the business.

The only reason I can think of to speak to the media during a tragedy is if you need to appeal to the public for help or information. At that point, any coverage can be invaluable. Otherwise, don't do it. Nothing good can come of it.


I can't even imagine.

Nice post Pierre.


I'm just floored.

I can't imagine how painful it must be for you to watch the events of the past week, what memories it must have stirred up. And I'm just so impressed that you're able to channel it in a such a constructive way that I hope will help out a few people.

You should send this post as a letter to the editor of the Va Tech Paper. I think the more students that see it the better.


Wow, such a powerful post. Thanks for sharing this incredibly moving story. I'm also a former member of the media (newspaper not TV) and I hated, HATED having to participate in stories where I needed to talk to the families of victims. I was fortunate that there isn't the same kind of pressure from bosses -- no one ever told me to make someone cry for the sake of a photo -- but it felt so needlessly intrusive. I left a newspaper once where they asked me to stake out an emergency room to talk to grieving parents. I said I would tell the floor nurse that I was interested in hearing their story when and IF they were ready. That wasn't good enough for my editor. I left and never looked back. I was fortunate that my last (much bigger, more professional) newspaper didn't require such invasive tactics. I still didn't like knocking on doors, but it never failed to shock me that half of the families *wanted* to talk. When they said no, I apologized and went away. But half the time they invited me in. And I'd say about half of those interviews led to thank you notes from the family. I guess everyone is different in their grief. Still, I don't think I'd like a reporter knocking on my door and leaving me messages, especially when you mutiply that one visit or call by X number of media outlets. It makes me sick when you see TV news crews parked in front of a victim's house, doing a live shot. For God's sake, who cares if their house is in the background??? Thanks again MD. I was very moved by your experience.

Sarah Marie

Hi MD,
I rarely comment but always read. This post was amazingly honest and helpful to me and hopefully to the individuals at VT. I haven't ever been in a near-death experience like you and others have, but I feel your words have change me for the better nonetheless. Thanks for your post.


Pierre, beautiful letter. What a horrific and world-shattering thing to go through - thank you for sharing this experience.

One of your friends at Kimchi Mamas -


MD, thanks for your thoughtful response to my question earlier this month.

Sorry to hear about what happened to you in college. Your sharing this to help the VT community will be at least one good thing that happens out of that horror.

Another question for you - what is your take on NBC's broadcasting of the manifesto package? Bottom-feeding scumbag behavior? Or did it do good in clarifying the situation and dispelling some confusion?



I'm truly sorry for what you have gone through. I can't imagine how the whole ordeal must have been for you and your family.

Your eloquent and thoughtful post will truly help those affected in VT.

Mitch McDad

I bow to your elegance and insight. Your story from Cal is equally insane and terrifying…and that of a movie. I can’t imagine shit like that going down in real life. Even seeing the VT footage over and over again, it strikes me as surreal due to the desensitization we’ve been through over the years.

Thanks for your words.



Every time something like this happens, I remember Henry's (I'd eaten there just a few nights previously) and think about you. You've said it so much better than any crisis counselor could.

(from a crisis counselor, BTW, in Berkeley)


MD, That was beautiful. I truly hope that VT students find their way to this post. Your words had a profound affect on me. Thank you.


I thought of you when the tragedy occurred and knew that you would write something. This is truly a wonderful and thoughtful piece.


I'm glad you wrote this, MD. We're so used to moving onto the next new story that we forget the long-lasting effects that incidents like this have on their victims. Your advice is spot-on.



I hope you don't think I'm placating your ego when I tell you that you are indeed awesome.

This post was brave, useful, thoughtful and empathetic.

Every time I think you've reached your pinnacle, then you done go and do something even better!


- Natalie


Wow, Metro. I was so glad to see a couple of VT students up at the top actually found this. I'll bet you're right, that they can only really accept that kind of advice from someone who's been there. I hate that you were, that they were, but you have my mad props for using what you know this way.

And I thought I was a fan before...

Her Bad Mother

Oh, M-D. Holy shit.

Feeling for you - and them - hard.

The Nikki Giovanni convocation was great, as was the orginal post. I recommend linking to it.

The Nikki Giovanni convocation was great, as was the orginal post. I recommend linking to it.

Michelle O'Neil

Wow. This is what art of any form is about.

Taking your pain and making something beautiful out of it.

What a great post.

Which 50 Am I?

I disagree with writergirl. It's more fair to label all journalists as bottom-feeding scumbags than to label Koreans as such because 95% of journalists are so whereas only 50% of Koreans are. What's 5% among friends?

Nicolette Tallmadge

I wasn't a VT student, I actually graduated from Radford, which is located one town away from Tech. But even so, the whole incident knocked me for a bit of a loop because we were almost as familiar with the Tech campus as were with our own school. Plus we had plenty of friends who are alumni and they're pretty shaken up as well. But I must say, bravo! This was one excellent post, actually the best I've seen on the whole topic. I'll certainly be directing it to all of the Tech alums I know.


DUDE! You're the featured Typepad blog tonight! You rock! And you're not even here to enjoy it!

slouching mom

This was beautiful, moving, and, above all, clearly helpful to the students who read it.

Bravo. It took guts to write, I'd imagine. Why revisit something so painful, except to help other people feel less pain?

You're a good guy, MD.


Real people - with real empathy would be the better counselors in situations like this. Eloquent presentation....although...
I NEVER want to understand such fear.

Here from "perfect post"

ann adams

I can't imagine what it must have been like for you or the students.

Beautifully said.

Ruth Dynamite


This is really beautiful.

helen morris

I'm not a parent or live in America. I visited because you were the featured blog. I was laughing then crying, all within ten minutes. What a wonderful, moving post. Thank you.



Once again, Congratulations!
You touched me!
All the best from Spain!

Next time in Europe, give us a call you and bosslady! Madrid is sort in the way to become the hong kong of old Europe!! Just kidding, just kidding! Jajaja!!
(I love hong kong, by the way. Asia is the future, that I am sure!)

Best regards.


Fantastic post. I wish I could printi it out and staple it to every open space I could find.

Thank you for sharing.

Thank you for caring.


It sounds like a great book to read. Recently, I'm stnggulirg at work, xtreme busy and heavy work is making me xtremly tired. When I see the word faith in your post, I think of God. I wish God hear my prayers.ristinw recently posted..


That is so awesome, Ben, and you're right, it will mean the world to him to have been able to cecnont in a small group like that. That's what young people need, and I'm excited to hear that he's cecnonting and will grow in his faith because of it!I am and I am not cecnonted in a small group community. Confusing, I know. I try to attend the weekly meeting of my ministry (I have a campus coach who actually attends and works with student leaders) and while there are times it does help, a bunch of 18-22 year olds don't really know the same experiences as a 31 year old. So I'm looking for a group to be in personally.


Your impact on the new group meebmr is Eternal and Your contribution to that community' is Eternal you may not think it's much, but thank you for making Him known through you. Not in a small community group ..for now. Thanks for the video post. Loved it!


I was working the avroeac medical missions from balad Iraq to Germany during the time your husband came through. I don't remember any exact conversation, but he does look familiar. I am so sorry to hear of your suffering, stress and ultimate loss. It is horribly tragic and it happens more than the publicly knows.You are not ever alone. Big hugs to you!


i've seen some of these pictures broefe. they are full of life and love. every time i read your blog, karie, you find another way to touch my heart.


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