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The Forgotten Death

By Eric Vought Originally written and posted in March 1993 regarding the shooting at Simon's Rock ollege o! Bard on 1" #ecem$er 199%& Retyped in 'pril o! %(1" with minor typo correction& This Semester is going to be difficult for some people at Simon's Rock. Some people will never return to this place. Perhaps there are those others who can go on as if nothing had ever happened, but there are a few, I must believe, who will be completely unchanged or unaffected by the violence on the night of ecember !", !##$. There will be a few who will not find themselves looking at this school in a subtly different way. This semester, we mourn the deaths of friends. %alen %ibson, a bright, kind &and slightly odd' soul was torn from us, as well as a rare and gifted teacher, (acu)*n S*e+. They were torn from us by the hands of a madman. ,ur home will never be the same without them. %alen's room still remains empty in -endrick. .is cartoons are still taped to the door. The notes people wrote to him are still there, scratched into the wood with the point of a pen. Plans are being discussed to make his room some sort of memorial to him, a physical hole in the structure of -endrick, like the not so plainly visible hole in our lives. (acu)*n's grades have not yet been finished. .e never had a chance to read his student's final efforts, to gauge how much they had really learned. Perhaps the most important lessons of (acu)*n S*e+ cannot be graded, nor can they be taught. /ho will replace him0 /ho will replace the wit and whimsy of friend and mentor0 There are others among us who are wounded. There are the obvious wounds that re1uire canes and crutches, as well as the more hidden wounds that re1uire tears and friends' shoulders. Some wounds will heal. Some may not. The scars left over when healing is done will serve to remind us of our pain for years to come. /hat many people fail to reali+e , as our classes continue and grades and work222 and escaping from grades and work222 fills our minds, is that we our not mourning two deaths this semester, but three3 The deaths of %alen %ibson, of (acu)*n S*e+, and of the person that some of us once knew as /ayne 4o. I know that many people will fault me for mentioning those three names in the conte5t of the same sentence without even an accusation to separate them, but I know that I am not alone. , have heard many others e5press their pain and disbelief, their bewilderment of the sudden change from friend and fellow student to enemy and assailant. The student that I knew as /ayne 4o, the person I roomed with, spoke with, laughed with, and even the shoulder I once cried on, is dead, as surely as %alen and (acu)*n are dead. That too has left a permanent mark on my life. 6efore being the bearer of death and a self2appointed e5ecutioner, /ayne was a creator beauty. 7nyone who had ever heard him play the violin can attest to that. The music he played in olliver $8 I will always hear playing alongside the sound of remembered gunfire. I remember him saying that his music was his chance to make something of himself, to be what he wanted to be. I remember believing it. I remember the letters he wrote, the letters he received, to and from schools of music across the country. I will always wonder what killed /ayne 4o. /as it the fact that his performance, his grades, his

successes always seemed to be 9ust less than he wanted them to be0 /as it something his mother said or did when she visited him the week before0 /as it, in some way, my fault0 /as it loneliness, or the pre9udice he said he always felt from others0 /as it something buried deep within himself0 :aybe it was all of these, or none of these. Perhaps we'll never know why /ayne 4o died, any more than we'll ever know why he killed. .e ended his own life too that night, and I will always wonder what made him discard his own instrument in favor of the one that he played on the night that %alen and (acu)*n's music died.