Virginia Tech: the bigger issues

At Virginia Tech, a horrible tragedy has taken place today. And the question is once again being asked all over the net – why is it that there is so much seemingly senseless violence in America?

Before I checked the news, I had a lot of posts swirling about in my head. I was hoping to write about something lighthearted. But this morning while I was enjoying my green tea latte and a few stolen moments with my husband then going to lunch with friends, I was oblivious that so many children – and that’s what they were in so many ways – had taken their last breaths.

The question of “why so much in America” has been asked so many times, causing reactions by Congress, parents, and even Michael Moore. We know it is a problem, yet we cannot agree on an answer. Is it the gun laws? Is it our fear-based society? Our tendency toward solving international problems with war? I don’t think any of these by themselves addresses the bigger social issue. But what that bigger social issue is exactly is hard to pin down. We all keep yelling for a bigger bucket, but no one is bothering to mention the giant hole in the roof.

Sidenote: at the time I’m writing this, not much is known about the gunman who also died in the shootings. We don’t know if he was a student or what his motive might have been. An eyewitness says he was of Asian decent. Was he even an American? An international student?

Here in America we value our individual rights above all else, and certainly it’s one of the reasons I love my country. Our bill of rights is the heart of each and every one of us. It is what makes the ACLU possible, for goodness sake. How could I not love it? But for all that yin love, there is a yang that follows. Individualism has a violent side when the rights of the other individuals are lost in too much hate, anger and misunderstanding.

I feel that the same forces that are allowing our capitalist/individualist selves to get out of control and ignore the warning signs of global warming are the same that drive an individual, in extreme cases, to let themselves slip down that dark tunnel into violence. In America, a big SUV like a Hummer is a status symbol. In England, to waste so much gasoline and emit all that nasty pollution is seen as incredibly selfish.

To achieve balance, the yin and yang should be equal. Why is it we as a collective American society cannot manage to find a dichotomy between individualism and community? Why cannot they both exist together? We are unbalanced. We need a cause to pull us together again and out of our collective selfishness. Can I suggest one?

My thoughts, prayers and heart goes out today to the unfinished lives of our nation’s best and the friends and families who mourn them.


4 Responses to “Virginia Tech: the bigger issues”

  1. 1 S Simpson April 16, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    I have one thought…green tea latte, REALLY? I mean c’mon, wake up, what’s WRONG with America?!?! Like ANYONE in this whole wide world even cares that you drink some yupified crap @ $6.00 a cup, professing to CARE SO MUCH, but are so self-centered and egotistical that you MUST even make mention of it. If you care SO much about America and anyone BUT your spoiled little self, why don’t you write something that does this world some GOOD! Take your $6.00 for the stupid latte and give it to some poor person that has NOTHING! BTW, I drive a big honkin SUV, but you know what I do with it? I carry people, that can’t afford other means, all over the state. You wanna know what we drink? Folgers and Bottled Water!

  2. 2 americanmum April 16, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    I only mentioned the latte thingy because if you knew me you would know that I never, ever spend that kind of dough on a drink…it was a special moment where I got to treat myself then I felt guilty because I was able to do so when so many had died today.

    I’m just looking for a way for us all to stand together on something, therefore cutting back on the violence. By the way, I think it is wonderful what you do with your SUV – you are certainly helping that cause.

  3. 3 Dan McKinlay April 16, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    I just heard more news on this subject. 32 people died.

    He had a big fight with his girlfriend the night prior, and the RA (a student) broke it up. He went to his room, and the next morning, bright and early, went to his girlfriends room. At 7am he got in a continuation of the argument the night prior. The same RA came back, and he killed both of them.

    TWO HOURS LATER, he went on a killing spree. It was described as methodical and cold. He barricaded doors with chains. One room had everyone but one person die. That man’s friend just spoke about it on Loveline. Virginia is one day behind, so they’ll get it tomorrow.

  4. 4 Dan April 17, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    I’d be careful about putting england up on some environmentally concerned pedestal. There is certainly a movement which is gaining momentum, but we’re no where near as environmentally sound as say scandinavia.

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