Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Collection of Thoughts

I've had a lot of thoughts after the Virginia Tech tragedy (I can't call it a massacre, though it might be adequately described as such, because it makes me too sad). I'm not sure how to write them coherently, but I realized its important to me to write them down, so I'm reverting to bullet points.

  • Just starting on the path to becoming parents has changed the way JP and I look at, and react to, events. When talking about the tragedy on Monday night JP commented that "66 parents lost their child" and that affected both of us so much more than thinking of those who lost a friend or classmate (the perspective we would normally have). There is already such a primal, innate feeling of protectiveness toward our baby, a certainty that we care more about him than we could ever care about ourselves, that to think of parents losing their (grown up) babies rendered both of us unable to expand on our thoughts any further.
  • Annoyance at the media. This is hard to sort out because I'm part of the problem- I've clicked on all the new stories as they've emerged in some effort to understand what occurred. We did turn off the CNN news coverage after a few minutes because watching reporters try to interview students seemed wrong and exploitative. I'm torn between annoyance that people are already moving on and annoyance that the media won't let go. On the one hand its essential to be able to pause, remember, and continue with your life, but to see headlines about American Idol next to Virginia Tech bothers me.
  • Anger at guns. I hate guns and I think they should be illegal. Second Amendment be damned, its how I feel and I really think that read properly that Amendment is about a well-armed citizen militia that we no longer need. I'm not going to use the tragedy to argue against them (I think the high gun deaths in the US do a fine job of that already), but I'm outraged that the NRA lobby immediately used it to defend guns. A quote from an msn article I no longer have the link to: "Lobbyist Neal Boortz went so far as to argue that if the Virginia General Assembly had passed House Bill 1572, allowing college students and employees to carry handguns on campus, the massacre could have been avoided." This makes me want to scream- more guns will not Ever lead to less killing.
  • Lack of understanding at the school's response. I know that anyone involved in the events at Tech cares very much about the lives of their students and will probably always question whether they did the right thing no matter how "right" their response is found to be, so I'm not calling for an inquisition. But I am interested in understanding why there was no email after the first shooting. I know officials thought the initial double homicide was an isolated, domestic violence event and that the killer had fled, but I feel that until the gunman is actually in custody, there's an obligation to notify those living on campus that a killer is at large. I would have wanted to know that before leaving my dorm to go to a 9am class. I hope there is an investigation for the purposes of understanding how best to respond to future events (that will hopefully never occur), while avoiding a public cry for "accountability" that leads to pointless dismissals.
  • That it's all just sad. A close family friend's daughter is a freshman at Virginia Tech and the mother’s email is heartbreaking. “[She] lost a close friend and intramural basketball teammate... [She] was in the architecture building next door to Norris Hall and saw the swat teams go in and could hear the gunfire. It is way more than any 19 year old should have to witness and endure.” The scars from this event will take a long time to heal and will never fully go away.


  1. What disturbs me is that as a 3L, a friend and I reported a creepy stalking guy to the administration at our school.

    Let's just say that the school did nothing. I think it happens all the time at every school, and it's always just a matter of time before something goes dreadfully wrong.

  2. It's horrible but I don't even like thinking about what happened. I hate that sh*t like this happens.

  3. Isn't that protective instinct amazing? It's primeval. My heart bleeds for the parents of the lost and the wounded.

    And there are no words to describe the utter despicability of the NRA. To come out at such a time with such a *moronic* statement, so crass and unfeeling--it is cruelly wrong. I completely agree with your assessment.