Thats What She Said

I'm supposed to be doing something else right now.

Please April 17, 2007

Filed under: *Daily — thats what she said @ 8:32 am

I’ve been trying to think of some sort of appropriate response to yesterday’s atrocities in Virginia.  I can’t though, and I suppose the reason is because even though it sickens me as a human being, and even though my heart goes out to every single family member and every single friend of every single person involved, and even though the incessant coverage of the event has made my cry and shake with rage more than once—in spite of all of that—what happened there can only really touch me in the most superficial of ways.  It is not my tragedy.  Not in any meaningful, personal way.  All I have to offer is this.

Please.  Go home and hug your children.  Or your wife or your husband or roommate or sibling.  Hug your friend, or cat.  Tell them that you love them.  Recognize the beauty you have in your life, and the frailty of it.  Just for a minute.   


11 Responses to “Please”

  1. Kamren Says:

    It really is sad what happend at V.T….
    I cried when I saw the pictures of the lives taken.
    But what makes me even sadder, is what NOBODY did to try and stop that guy, or to protect the people on that campus….an email? 2 hours later? WTF? So when we are under attack and the world is coming to an end are we all going to receive emails warning us to take cover?
    What is this world coming to?

  2. ewe guess Says:

    In the end, we are all individually responsible for our own personal safety. The police/government can’t always be there, and in any case deny any responsibility for protecting a given individual (versus keeping the peace in general).

    I agree with What She Said, I grieve in the abstract for all the lives lost but it’s too distant or maybe too much to absorb to have a deeper impact on me. For some reason I do not feel stories like these in the pit of my gut like I do the stories about individual child abductions/murders.

  3. You know, in light of the media coverage arguing that Virginia Tech and/or ‘mental health care officials’ should have ‘done something’…I’m not sure what anyone expected them to do. There are plenty of people in the world who could be described as disturbing, plenty of people that we could suspect are capable of violence, but the gift of living in this society is that you can’t be detained or arrested for being creepy. And the problem with the acts of an INSANE person is that those acts are typically INSANE. How was Virginia Tech to know that the shooter went to the post office right after killing two people? That is not the action of a sane person who has just committed a crime, and I don’t think there is any way they could have predicted what he was about to come back and do. The tragedy is horrific, and I understand the need to discover ‘how it could have happened’, but the truth is this: Cho Seung-Hui was disturbed to the point that he felt it necessary to kill as many people as he could, and he was able to buy guns in our country. I know you’re going to take issue with this Ewe Guess. I’m sure there would have been a way for this man to get his hands on a weapon even if he couldn’t run down to the local Wal-mart and do so. But I don’t know that that makes it ok that he didn’t have to.

  4. NutJob, Possibly Right Wing Says:

    1. Wish in one hand and spit in the other and see which one gets full the fastest.

    2. Laws against buying a given item do not affect lawbreakers who desire that item, and if there is a profit to be made by supplying prohibited items then someone will provide those items.

    3. (speculation on my part coming) The threat of being shot by an armed citizen is a far greater deterrent to crime than possible arrest, conviction and jail time.

    4. If guns magically disappeared from all civilian hands, good guys and bad guys alike, evil strong people would still prey on good weaker people. A woman alone with her children may find little comfort in 911 or a carving knife when the deranged ex comes calling. Firearms can be a great equalizer.

    5. Your idealism is inspiring, and I love you for it, but don’t forget the real world. Evil is real, it exists along side us and it has to be dealt with. I don’t particularly care what issues the murderer had, his acts were evil and nothing can excuse that. No taunting, no bullying, no mental gang-rape by abusive classmates can remotely be seen as extenuating circumstances for murdering strangers, and I cannot believe that this evil worthless excrement has defenders. His final act DOES define his life, and I hope there is a hell and that he is burning in it.

    6. And just to change the subject, I have to tell you that music videos in Honk Kong are absolutely bizarre…

    Please be safe, and is it too late to pick a continent other than Africa to be idealistic in?

  5. 1. But what is so great about having a handful of spit? I guess I’d rather retain my capacity for hope.
    2. Yes, bad things will always be available to the person who wants them bad enough. I still think a government that will let you buy a handgun but not weed is ridiculous.
    3. I think in some parts of the country this is absolutely true. I also think that most of the people (i.e. black, men) who live in those parts of the country would agree, but then most of them will be shot or put in jail by the time they are 30. This seems to me to be a step backwards. I don’t want to live in the Wild West, under some sort of vigilante justice system.
    4. Of course there is evil in the world. I don’t see that as a strong argument for adding to it though. In my experience, guns escalate situations.
    5. I wasn’t defending him. I don’t think calling someone insane forgives their actions. But (in a general sense) I don’t think that ignoring people’s motivations is anyway to prevent crimes, either. Obviously the past is not an excuse–plenty of people are abused or poor or made fun of, and they manage not to take it out on society. But you can’t deny the correlation between poverty and lack of education and abuse and CRIME. Its there. Our justice system puts band aids on gunshot wounds and never even stops to think about taking away the guns. I love you too, and I don’t want to act as if my 26 years of life on this planet have given me any sort of wisdom, but I HAVE to try this right now. I HAVE to think about life in this way, and I HAVE to try and have compassion for everyone and everything. I have to.
    6. Japanese appreciation of pop culture makes me very happy.
    I will be safe. And my heart is pretty set on it. I can’t sit and watch while this world self-destructs. But I appreciate your concern. And think of the weird bugs and weird food you could see…

  6. 5. Ooh. I think what I was trying to articulate (poorly) above is that I don’t think searching for the cause of a criminal’s actions (i.e. poverty, abuse, etc) excuses those actions. But I do think it could allow us, as a society, to attempt to prevent them. And shouldn’t a society be just as involved in preventing crime as it is in punishing criminals?
    Is anyone even arguing me on this? Probably not. Hot air seems to be escaping me at an alarming rate. And now I’ve gone from trying to save the world to describing flatulence. Must…stop…typing…

  7. tired, and yet I hope Says:

    1. Could be thirst-quenching in dire circumstances, but the point is the spit actually exists. And you actually accomplish something by spitting.
    2. If you want to lobby for a joint with every firearm purchase, let your idealism run free.
    3. My speculation is not geographically or socio-economically limited, it is universal. Bad people prefer to pick on easy marks, and marks that shoot back are not easy. The fact that young black men kill each other with great frequency has less to do with the fact that I can legally buy a gun in the US than it does with the disintegration of family (yes, traditional family) and the culture in which those young black men are raised. There is a huge difference between being able to own a weapon for self defense and a wild west vigilante world. That is always the prediction when some state or jurisdiction is contemplating a concealed carry law, or for example when Florida revised the rules for self defense, and the bloodbath never happens. It is a cheap and empty argument. Laws only affect the law-abiding, and law-abiding people don’t lose their respect for the law when they buy a gun.
    4. The availability of guns for purchase by the law-abiding do not add to evil in the world. Are you actually trying to make that argument? That the mere presence of a gun adds evil? Despite the fact that reporting on such events is scarce or non-existent, guns in the US are actually used daily to prevent evil, by plain old folks. Please tell me of your experiences where the presence of a gun escalated a situation.
    5. Assuming your correlation between poverty and lack of education and abuse and crime exists, what is the relationship between my legal ownership of a firearm and helping the poor, the uneducated and the abused? Or is it okay if I own a gun but the poor, the uneducated and the abused must be prevented from such ownership “because they can’t handle it”?
    I want to live in a free society, where people can choose to live as they want. But that free society imposes responsibilities on its members, and if said members fail in those responsibilities then I want the corrective action to be swift and harsh. (speaking in grand generalities) We all make choices, and should have to live with the consequences of those choices. Being poor does not eliminate responsibility. Being uneducated does not eliminate responsibility. Being abused does not eliminate responsibility. We are all individually responsible for our own actions.

    I feel like I should say something about the concept of preventing crime by fighting poverty and poor education and abuse, but I’ve run out of steam. Maybe I’ll just ask what the availability of firearms has to do with poverty, the NEA and abuse?

  8. Hmm. I’m not really arguing any of those things. Or, yes, I am arguing a couple. I am very much enjoying the debate, but I don’t have time today at work to repsond in full…stupid work. But I couldn’t just not respond, lest you think you’d turned me into a gun lover with the power of your extensive vocabulary. It’s pretty impressive. :) In all honesty, however much I hate guns (and I do) I’m not sure that you don’t have the right to have one. Actually, scratch that. I am sure that the constitution says you do have the right to have one. (Ok I’m getting sucked in again.) I suppose what I’m saying is that even though I think guns are bad, I see no practical way of reversing over 200 years of gun culture by suddenly making them illegal. If (and maybe when?) I choose to run for office in this country, or take part in the political system in whatever form, I would rather spend my time protecting womens reproductive rights and fighting for gay marriage and ensuring health care for everyone and creating a foreign policy that doesn’t make me ashamed, then trying to take away your gun.
    Also–come on now. Accusing me of arguing that poor, uneducated people don’t deserve guns because they can’t handle them? I think that arguement is beneath you. You know that isn’t what I’m saying. All its doing is making me mad, and then I get defensive, and then this incredible new platform we seem to have worked out for talking about our staggeringly different political views just becomes a way for us to piss each other off. And I don’t want to piss you off. Or maybe only a little, when you try to get me to like Bigg & Rich.

  9. tired, and yet I hope Says:

    to be honest I am quite willing at this point to agree to disagree.

    But how can you possibly say with any honesty that you don’t like Holy Water or 8th of November by Big and Rich?

  10. I ask you, how Big can he be if he only spells it with one ‘g’?

  11. Must I Say It Says:

    “Size doesn’t matter.”

    And one of them has a Very Big Hat (but I can’t tell them apart so I don’t know if it’s a Big hat or a Rich hat).

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