Friday, February 15, 2008

"...Cause things are gonna change so fast, all the white horses are still in bed..."

I wrote the following post after the Virginia Tech shooting last year and posted it to another blog. It's interesting to note that some of the points I made in that post are things we have discussed this semester in our class. The point I'm trying to make by re-posting something that is almost a year old is that it's hideous that this is just as timely now as it was all those months ago because of the shooting yesterday at Northern Illinois University:

"Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Where do we go from here?
Category: News and Politics

When things happen like the shooting at VA Tech yesterday, I find that the only thing I can think about is how it could have been prevented. I guess it's a hazzard of what I study in school. We're taught to look at disasters (man-made or natural) and piece together policy recommendations that, if adopted, can either prevent disasters or keep the damage the disasters cause to a minimum.

I've done an semester-long case study on hurricane Katrina. I've done research on Darfur and sexual violence during wartime. All of these incidents have long-term reprocussions. And none of them have simple solutions. I'm starting to think of the random gun violence that afflicts the US in the same light.

Before I learned how hard it is to adopt and implement new policies, I always thought gun crime would be preventable if there were tougher laws here in the US about who can buy guns and what kind of guns are allowed on the streets. As I do more research and see that the world is not black and white, but shades of gray, I have started to realize that all of the laws and policies in the world cannot stop anyone from doing what they want to do. Even if what they want to do is harmful or illegal or morally reprehensible. Laws and policies are only useful if the people the laws are made to protect are willing to accept them.

After seeing what happened yesterday on that college campus, I'm reminded of how fleeting life is. Of how lucky we all are to feel as safe as we do on a daily basis. So many people have so many critisisms of the US. I am one of those people. I don't agree with any of the domestic or international policies of the current administration. I do know that Americans have lives that are alot better than the average citizen of the world though. In many countries in the world, violence like the kind that happened yesterday in Virginia is a regular occurance; something the citizens of those countries have to deal with on a daily basis. Studying genocide and ethnic and gendered violence has opened my eyes to this. And it's made me more thankful for the things I have; for being lucky enough to have been born in a place as safe and policitally stable as the US.

But death and violence and political conflict need not make us cynical or harden us against the world. And this is something I need to remind myself, too. We all have to remember how tiny and rare and precious we all are in this world and that we are not, that none of us are alone in all of this mess. (Thank you, Jodie Foster speaking Carl Sagan's words in Contact.) And it is an event like the shooting at VA Tech that always reminds us of this.

Let the next step be remembering this all of the time. Let that be where we go from here.

Currently listening : Both Sides Now By Joni Mitchell Release date: By 21 March, 2000"

1 comment:

Becky said...

Tori Amos lyrics as a title=awesomeness. I haven't listened to her in awhile, but I used to be a huge fan