Tuesday, April 17, 2007


With all of the talk of the remarkable college women of the Rutgers basketball team, who were casually injured days ago by the ignorant words of the I-man, America now has a too-long roster of remarkable college students from Virgina Tech who suffered the ultimate injury by losing their lives at the cowardly hand of a fellow student.

Media talk will inevitably turn to asking "How did this happen?", as if we really do not know the not-so-mysterious causes of gun violence. Our dumb wonder quickly rises in these moments, and I fear that like the not-so-mysterious causes of incompetence, or distrust, or bigotry, no one truly wants an answer.

Like modern American tragedies, blame will need to be passed somewhere, never to ourselves, but to some aspect of the system, in this tragedy's case to the police and administrators in Blacksburg, Virgina. We are so good at placing anger and frustration upon individuals and groups that failed only because we failed to ask serious questions or demand thorough preparation.

I hope that as we grieve for the lost young men and women of Virgina Tech we can admit this event is one more recent example of how our notions of public safety are false. Rhetoric from our leaders may soothe our feelings, or provide us with common enemies, but our vulnerabilities as communities remain unguarded and unaddressed.

We don't exclusively need to fight evil-doers over in Iraq to prevent them from coming here. We have plenty of other evils at home already. The greatest one might be our relentless focus on our feelings, and never on results.


Anonymous said...

Wonderfully written Sadly true

Anonymous said...

Now this is not rambling