Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy

By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the tragic massacre at Virginia Tech yesterday. I thought I might chime in with my thoughts.

As callous and cynical as this sounds, my actual first thought was that the media is going to have another feeding frenzy for us to obsess over and pick apart for a week until the next Anna-Nicole Smith revelation or racist DJ incident happens. Frankly, as much as I wanted to learn about this yesterday, I couldn’t bring myself to turn on the news because the thought of seeing the reporters’ earnest gravitas belied by the delight in their eyes was too soul-crushing for me to bear. I decided to wait for the Times this morning.

Then, of course, I thought about my own time on campus, and how horrible of an experience this must have been for those poor kids, their families and the needless tragedy of it all.

Finally, I started thinking how this was going to play out longer term. I’ve already seen calls from politicians about stricter gun control laws because of this incident. Now, you are not going to find someone who is more in favor of gun control than I am. I think they should be illegal everywhere in all circumstances. An incident like this one perfectly makes that argument - dude gets a gun, starts wasting kids = very bad. But, you know, as with the feeding frenzies, I’ve grown tired of politicians and pundits appropriating tragedy to make their political cases for them. Obviously, if you take a look at my work on Hurricane Katrina, I’m not claiming to be above it. I’m just tired of it. An illegal immigrant kills a person, illegal immigrants are bad. A fat ex-model gets crazy high on drugs, drugs are bad. And so on and so forth. Examples provide excellent illustration when we are trying to make a point as long as we ignore the examples that contradict our desired end. But it’s high time that we as a people start making our cases with words and logic instead of relying on death and destruction to make our points for us.

Yes, we should get rid of guns, but let’s not make this tragedy worse by turning it into Terry Schiavo.

Bought & Souled makes a very important point as well. If we make this about guns instead of this (and all other) disturbed person’s reason for doing this, then we are addressing the symptoms and not the disease. What turns people into killers? Let’s solve that one.

(And also get rid of guns but not because of this; because they have always been dangerous and unnecessary.)

In all seriousness, my thoughts are with the families of the injured and deceased, with the Virginia Tech students, and with all students everywhere. It’s hard out there for a 18-22 year old, you know?

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