Sunday, December 11, 2011
VA Tech's Garuda Again?
This was the week of a powerful lunar eclipse on December 10, 2011 (beginning at 6:06 am PST) followed by the deadly Mexico City to Acapulco 6.5-6.7 earthquake, which struck almost exactly twelve hours after the eclipse. Added to those events, the previous week's wave of WV, CA, MA, FL and other multiple shootings, plus the NH mall attack, and one has a general uneasy sense that it was, indeed, a weird and stressful time.
Now in the midst of all of this, the links to Garuda and VA Tech present themselves again into our consciousness. Let's take a quick connect-the-dots detour around this landscape.
An Indonesian student activist died late Saturday (December 10, 2011) after setting himself ablaze in a political protest, according to news sources: "Police say an Indonesian student activist has died after setting himself on fire in front of the presidential palace. Sondang Hutagalung, 22, set himself ablaze across from the palace in downtown Jakarta….The activist was last seen joining a Sept. 7 protest demanding justice for Munir Thalib, a prominent activist who died in 2004 of arsenic poisoning during a flight with national carrier Garuda."
National carrier Garuda?
How was Munir Thalib assassinated?
"Munir was poisoned with arsenic on a flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam on September 7, 2004. He was travelling on state-owned airline Garuda Indonesia. It was concluded from Munir's autopsy and eye witnesses during the trial, that he had died two hours before arrival in Schiphol, Amsterdam. He took the arsenic during his flight transit in Singapore, or sometime near that time." Source.
"PT Garuda Indonesia..., publicly known as Garuda Indonesia, is the flag carrier of Indonesia. It is named after the mystical giant bird Garuda of Hinduism and Buddhist mythology." Source.
"The Garuda (Sanskrit/Javanese/Balinese/Indonesian: गरुड garuḍa, 'eagle'; Pāli garuḷa; Tamil: கருடன் karutan; Thai/Lao: ครุฑ khrut; Malay: geroda; Mongolian: гарьд garid) is a large mythical bird or bird-like creature that appears in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology." Source.
I have previously discussed the overlap between this airline, a tragic crash (on March 7, 2007), Garuda, and Mothman here.
Following the Garuda Airlines crash, less than a month later, the April 16, 2007 massacre at VA Tech, which left 33 dead, occurred. As the events of that day unfolded, I was struck to learn that in local lore at VA Tech, the school's mascot, the Hokie Bird is referred to as "Blacksburg's own Garuda." I wrote of my thoughts about that strange coincidence in "VA Tech's Garuda."
VA Tech seemed to be a pivotal touchstone to notice when the world seemed to have gone a little haywire. It will be recalled that on Wednesday, January 21, 2009, police reported a woman was beheaded on the Virginia Tech campus, when she was decapitated while calmly eating. Xin Yang, 22, was killed only a couple weeks after arriving at the campus from Beijing on January 8 to begin studying accounting, Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said.
Now again, the VA Tech's Garuda has appeared, above, in news articles about a new tragedy. On December 8, 2011 (the anniversary date of John Lennon's assassination), "Ross Truett Ashley, a 22-year-old part-time business student at Radford University, about 10 miles from the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg" went to VA Tech, "walked up to officer Deriek W. Crouse (39) after noon and shot him to death as the patrolman sat in his unmarked cruiser during a traffic stop. Ashley was not involved in the stop and did not know the driver, who is cooperating with police, they said. Authorities said Ashley then took off for the campus greenhouses, ditching his pullover, wool cap and backpack as police quickly sent out a campus-wide alert that a gunman was on the loose. Officials said the alert system put in place after the nation's worst mass slaying in recent memory worked well, but it nevertheless rattled a community still coping with the day a student gunman killed 32 people and then himself. A deputy sheriff on patrol noticed a man acting suspiciously in a parking lot about a half-mile from the shooting. The deputy drove up and down the rows of the sprawling Cage parking lot and lost sight of the man for a moment, then found Ashley shot to death on the pavement, a handgun nearby." Sources 1 & 2.
I must remind my readers, John A. Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies was initially to be entitled The Year of the Garuda. Keel preserved some notion of what he was feeling with his subtitle, An Investigation into the Mysterious American Visits of the Infamous Feathery Garuda.
The disaster that ends Keel's book is the collapse of the Silver Bridge, which spanned the Ohio River, between Kanauga, Ohio, and Point Pleasant, West Virginia. That event took 46 lives, occurring 45 years ago, on December 15, 1966.