Wednesday, April 18, 2007

yesterday, today, and Virginia Tech

Here was my original take on the killings in Virginia:
If you came here today looking for a diatribe about the shootings in Virginia, I'm going to have to disappoint you. There was no conspiracy, there was no plot, there wasnt even gross incompetence on the part of the university administration. The only place for blame to be lain is on the dead head of that whacked-out son-of-a-bitch who did the shooting.

Could anyone have done anything to have prevented it? Maybe, but only through dumb luck. The poor schmuck was broken. Considering the wondrous complexity of the human body and mind, the real surprise is perhaps that this does not happen more often (or maybe it does - look at the Middle East, including our own shameful part in it). And to anyone who says that someone should have "reached out" to him, what part of "loner" dont you understand? And there's no way to prevent it from happening again, short of putting everyone into barrels for their entire lives (Matrix, anyone?). Banning guns isnt the answer either; imagine the horror of this type of rampage, but with a sword, a primitive weapon designed for hacking flesh...
Then I ran out of time and had to put the post in draft form until later. Now it's later, but I've read something that's given the whole thing a twist.

This kind of thing happens every day in Iraq.

Oh, not some sad, crazed student venting his pent-up frustrations on innocent bystanders, but a more common form of madness. War, and the killing of others, generally just as innocent as those students and teachers in Virginia, who dont agree with your point of view.

Originally, I had planned to finish up with something advocating universal health care and the need to include mental health care with it. Then I was going to add that we need to put more emphasis on health care itself, to make it more than handing out the latest fashion in mood-altering drugs and warping research to figure out how to sell us more shit we neither want nor need. But what's the point?
Bad as the killings in Virginia were, they fall far short the carnage in Iraq.

Maybe you're saying to yourself that I've crossed a line by bringing the war into a tragedy like this. But, in effect, the United States has walked onto the University of Iraq, and started shooting. But here there are no cops to come to the rescue, because Policeman to the World was the roll we had taken upon ourselves. And as the shooting continued, others decided they wanted to get in on the "fun".

And so innocent people are dying, because of someone else's anger and madness.

That's on our heads. All the mental health care in the world wont change that, much as we might wish it away. The deaths in Iraq dont lessen the deaths in Virginia, rather the deaths in Virginia ought to bring home the tragedy of the deaths in Iraq. Deaths in which we, you, I, your neighbors, your family, all Americans, have a collective guilt in. And while you think about that poor sick bastard who shot up that campus, think about the thread of commonality between him, and your Nation.


rev. billy bob gisher ©2008 said...

"And while you think about that poor sick bastard who shot up that campus, think about the thread of commonality between him, and your Nation."


daveawayfromhome said...

Thank you. I seem to be currently in my "manic" blogging phase.

Kel said...

I don't think you are in a manic phase at all. You have retained a sense of perspective.

As I said on the first anniversary of 7-7 here in London:

Perspective. We must always hold on to our sense of perspective. It came with the thought:

"In Baghdad, this would be considered a good day."

And there's the truth. We will, rightly, hold our minutes silence today and reflect on our losses. But we should never forget that in Iraq the events that we are commemorating are far too commonplace to ever be remembered with such ceremony.

United We Lay said...

Very nice. I think the culture of violence I've been talking about is part of what is going on in Iraq. It's a war. People have to know that people are dying. But death doesn't really mean a whole lot to Americans, especially when they don't see or hear anything about it.

daveawayfromhome said...

The hiding of the death has been a deliberate tactic by the Bush Corp to minimize the unpopularity of the war. Republicans and other Hawks say that Americans have no stomach for war, but I think we simply have no stomach for immoral war. There was no menace in Iraq, and most people know that, and the Administration certainly knew that or it would not have gone to the lengths it did to disconnect the American people from the effects of War.