Monday, April 16, 2007

Beyond Words

I woke up with a migraine today and given the weather (strong wind, spitting rain, chill temperatures), I decided to stay in bed and work from home in the afternoon.

A little after noon, a friend sent me a message asking me if I had been following what was happening at Virginia Tech. I was horrified. My nephew and Tom's nephew both attend Tech and fortunately, both are not hurt. Daniel had just arrived at Norris Hall when everything was going on and by good fortune, decided to not take his normal bus to campus. If he had been 10 minutes earlier, who knows what might have happened? PJ (Tom's nephew) was in the building next to Norris when the shootings occurred. His next class was in Norris.

Others were not so lucky. 32 people, mostly students, perished today in the worst shooting rampage in U.S. history. It's beyond my ken. Our illustrious president, while professing to be horrified and deeply concerned, said through his publicist that the he believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed. Additionally, the White House said that "certainly, bringing a gun into a school dormitory and shooting … is against the law and something someone should be held accountable for." (Credit: ABC News, Deb Riechmann,

The gunman is dead; he allegedly killed himself. So who do we hold accountable? Certainly not the gun manufacturers; the NRA would raise a stink over that. The president of Virginia Tech for not being prescient enough to know that the gunman didn't leave campus after the initial shootings? The owner of the gun store where the gun was bought? The owner of the gun if gunman borrowed or stole it?

Society, perhaps, for not doing enough to teach children that you can't always get everything you want and how to deal with the disappoints that life so often hands out.

I don't know the answer; perhaps there isn't one. What I do know is that over the last several decades, images on television, in movies, and in video games have become more violent and more graphic. Song lyrics have followed the same trend. We, as a nation, have become desensitized to violence. It's commonplace and perhaps the underlying message is that it's okay to kill to get what you want or to get even.

But it's so wrong.

I've been silently boycotting the entertainment industry for a while now. I don't go to movies if there's so much as a shred of violence in them. I don't listen to commercial radio. I don't watch television (except for the Food Network, PBS, and some shows on the War History Channel). As one person, I'm certainly not influencing Hollywood. And there will never be enough of us to make a difference because too many people are addicted to adrenalin (but that's a discussion for another day).

My apologies for a rambling and somewhat disjointed post; I needed to say something.


Sheepish Annie said...

I thought of you as I was hearing about this and am so glad that you and yours are safe.

This is horrific beyond contemplation. I've not really been able to sit through an entire broadcast on the tragedy. I don't think that we are really equipped to ever understand this type of tragedy.

Anne said...

I'm glad to hear your family members were okay though. I immediately thought of all my friends who went to Tech, and we have a friend who now teaches there. I cannot even imagine.

Mia said...

I heard about the shooting when I went to the post office. I had been out getting my hair cut so I didn't hear anything. In a small town, you always know some one. One of the kids from the fire department is an engineering student at Tech. He was able to get through to his mother who let everyone know that he was okay.

I said to some one yesterday that the finger pointing will be going on for quite awhile. And do not get me started on the idiot at 1600. It isn't nice.