This goes out to the alumni of Virginia Tech, because you’re the only ones I have any insight for.
My own alma mater, Simon’s Rock, went through a similar albeit smaller (at a smaller school.) And there’s one question you may find yourself struggling with: Why? Not in the details of why this shooter shot on this occasion, but why this school, why my school, why in a place where you think this would never happen?
You’re searching for an answer that isn’t there. It’s not that the space deserved this or generated this. What happened was an unlikely incident anywhere, a rarity, a strangehood. Any place that has a diverse culture (which a school should have, and there are problems if they don’t) takes a risk of being the next place where something like this happens. It’s like a bad lottery ticket… but someone wins the lottery. Your school was not some seething dark cesspool that you didn’t realize; it is just in this world of both tragedy and beauty, the moment brought your school the former.
As a footnote: I see that the media is calling this “the deadliest school attack in U.S. history“. They did the same thing for Columbine. Wasn’t true then, wasn’t true now, but they don’t seem to bother to check the history before making that claim.