- The Washington Times - Friday, April 20, 2007

Noble: Liviu Librescu, a Virginia Tech professor who gave his life to safe those of his students.

Tragedy often produces great acts of bravery and Monday’s massacre at Virginia Tech is no exception. In the face of danger, some students barricaded classroom doors, others used the clothes off their backs to bandage wounds and one quick-thinker made a makeshift tourniquet out of an electrical cord. But the selfless and heroic actions of Professor Liviu Librescu deserve special notice.

Born in Romania, Mr. Librescu survived the Holocaust and the brutal regime of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Labeled a refusenik, he lost his job as an aerospace engineer because of his religious and political positions. He struggled to emigrate to Israel and finally settled in 1985 at Virginia Tech, where he found “a place that allowed him to be inspired,” his son, Yossi, said.

The professor was popular among students and colleagues alike, and what he did on Monday will certainly cement that reputation.

The last stop on Cho Seung-Hui’s killing spree was Mr. Librescu’s classroom. The professor blocked the unlockable door with his body to hold out Cho while shouting for his students to escape through the classroom windows. Cho overpowered Mr. Librescu, pushed his way into the room and shot the professor in the head. All of his students survived.

For giving his life to save his students’ the benevolent Liviu LIbrescu is the Noble of the week.

Knave: Virginia Tech officials who, despite numerous and repeated warnings, allowed Cho Seung-Hui to remain at the university.

University officials were first warned about Cho’s bizarre behavior in the fall of 2005, when students in his creative-writing class complained about his gruesome, violent writing. Soon after, campus police were contacted by two female students who said Cho was stalking them, and again when an acquaintance of Cho’s expressed concern that he might be suicidal. A judge ordered an evaluation at a nearby psychiatric hospital where doctors verified he suffered from mental illness but they did not find him to be a threat to himself or others. He was discharged and approved for outpatient treatment.

In the video mailed Monday to NBC, between his two bloody attacks on the campus, Cho seethed the words: “You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today.” Though the bloodbath rests squarely on Cho’s own murderous shoulders, school officials seemingly had plenty of evidence that Cho was a possible threat to himself and others. More than one fatal mistake was made.

For mishandling Cho’s warning signs, the officials at Virginia Tech are the Knaves of the week.

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