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Thoughts on Virginia Tech

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Two of our writers have compared the carnage at VA Tech to a quiet day in Iraq, and how the families of Iraqis suffer every day. This is a harsh reality to juxtapose with the horror we've experienced here in the US today.

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.
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Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media.

Check out his platform at RobKall.com

He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

more detailed bio:

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, (more...)

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