Darkness Falls

One troubled student rains down death on a quiet campus

Hector Emanuel for TIME

Mourners gather during a candlelight vigil on the Drill field at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va.

The winds were April cruel in Blacksburg on Monday: too strong for helicopters to evacuate the most badly wounded that morning, too strong for candles that night. The vigils would have to wait; the students grieved in the privacy of their dorms. The stately, sprawling campus of Virginia Tech was littered with broken branches; yellow police tape ribboned through a tree as if the gusts had tied it there, mourning those who would not be coming back. The locals said the winds rose to carry the angels down so they could take the children home.

Hindsight blows just as strong through...

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