Tuesday, April 17, 2007
There have been countless memorials and articles constructed surrounding the shooting at VT already.
I am reluctant to say anything on the subject, in part because I feel like whatever I might say on the subject would fall so grossly short of doing any kind of justice to anyone who was personally impacted by this senseless act of violence. But I'm going to say something because in a tangential way, it hit home for me as well.
As I have previously mentioned, I have a cousin who attends Virginia Tech. And while he was lucky enough to avoid physical harm, the fact is that 23 students were harmed, and 32 students and members of the faculty paid the ultimate price in Monday's tragic events. (I don't count the gunman among the dead, because I don't feel that he deserves to be placed among the innocents. Though I acknowledge that even his death had an impact on those who knew him.)
The main reason I was compelled to issue this missive is because I was shocked that something like this COULD and DID touch someone I love. And I think it's important to not only recognize the victims themselves, but also the people who are left to mourn them.
A secondary reason I felt that something must be said is that I am disgusted by the way most news outlets have been covering this story.
I understand that many people have a morbid curiosity to peer into the mind of the assailant. They want to know more about the who and the why. I know that that's what draws in a great deal of readership. But I feel like that kind of article presents the wrong kind of focus. It talks of the "largest massacre" to date. It names the killer, and presents possible motives. It shows other ill-minded people that if they dish out enough horror, THEY will be the focus of the notoriety. It also shows them that the bar has been set by this person, and that since this person has the record, they surpass all others who preceded them. It is basically an invitation to escalate the violence. It invites people with bad intentions to go above and beyond those who came before so that they can be the one who tops the list, and so it's their name that will be remembered. It's a slippery slope, and I fear that we haven't seen the worst yet.
I think it's more important to make articles about the victims the focus of our attention. They did nothing wrong, and they were the ones we lost. Their possible impact on the world is lost forever. Their stories are so often forgotten. I think it's more important to place the focus somewhere other than on the perpetrator.
I won't ramble on anymore, because as I said before, I don't feel like anything I could say would do any justice to the horror of the situation, or to honor those lost.