Tuesday, April 17, 2007

No General Conclusions

Yeah, I avoided writing about the Virginia College shootings yesterday. I avoided reading about them. The story is kind of outside my beat.

However, even if I wasn't a smart aleck I think I'd steer clear of this, because our opinions mean nothing in the face of such an awful event. Something this tragic and isolated cannot be helped by Monday-morning quarterbacking. I've seen a call to ban firearms, which wouldn't have helped because firearms are already banned at schools. I've seen the opposite expressed also, as if somehow we'd have safer schools if MORE kids were armed.

The most predictably asinine opinion I've see expressed is that because Cho Seung-Hui was an immigrant we must curb immigration. This is absurd, as ridiculous as the call to ban long overcoats after Columbine. Overcoats don't kill people, disturbed people do. Seung-Hui had been living in the US for 14 years. If you want to rule on the grounds of nationality, we should ban Americans from America.

What we need to do as a result of this is mourn. Nothing more. Life is precious and sometimes short, and we cannot predict how it will end. A thing like Virginia Tech makes the news precisely because it rare and horrible. Throwing fear at it won't make it stop. Mourn, move on, treasure every moment in which there is not a shooting or terrorist attack or medical emergency. Beyond that, it's out of your control.

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