I have mixed feelings about running them. One reader curses our newest writer, Larry Johnson, a former CIA and State Department official, for "using" in his article, the deaths, to argue his cause. There's a lot of justifiable pain and passion around this senseless event. But if someone can "use" it to give meaning to other senseless events, even if it hurts, then perhaps it is one way that these deaths have done some small amount of good.
Having two kids in college myself, I shudder at the thought of having them at, let alone, a school where this happened. I offer my prayers to the familes of the victims.
Shelly Drobny, in his article, asks, "Given the state of our society, I would ask why this does not happen more often here."
I agree with Shelly. There are over 300 million Americans. If just two percent of them are mentally ill, and that's a low number, then there are six million people with the potential to lose it, to go ballistic. And probably, the numbers are much higher. On top of that, we have a culture that has been drifting further and further into the anomie and alienation-- people are no longer connected to community. They log in, interface, download, assume roles, but they fail to connect heart to heart, spirit to spirit, one whole person to another. They go to schools where students never get to know each other. This is the fertile ground where tragedies like these occur.
Educational facilities aim to produce trained workers from students who compete to get grades. If VT is like most schools, the students in the classes probably never even took the time to introduce themselves to one another-- not efficient use of class time.
We know that the best way to talk a person holding hostages down is to spend time talking, getting to know the hostage-taker. Maybe we need to, as a nation, invest more time in making connections happen between people-- not just in the settings we control, like families, churches, or organizations we join, but also schools, even stores.
My stepfather, Max, who lived to reach 96 years, always found out the name of every person he dealt with-- waitresses, bank tellers, you name it. He' treat them as equals, as friends, and sure enough, they always remembered him and treated him with kindness, respect, and often, love.
How different would things be if we all did this-- took an extra minute to connect human to human? Maybe the South Korean young man who lost his mind yesterday would have never done this if someone had taken a moment to treat him like a person, with a heart, like Max would have done. There are millions of emotionally hurting people out there. Just being kind, being a tiny bit more interested and connecting for a few seconds, can save a person's life, or maybe even dozens of lives.