My thoughts are with the people connected to the Virginia Tech students and teachers who lost thier lives, the dozens of people who were shot, and the thousands of people who were traumatised in any way by the shooting there.
As the reports started coming from Blacksburg I heard someone on the news say she also felt what the parents and loved ones feel now that this happened there. No, you don’t. You can’t and I can’t know what this feels like unless it is your child, sister, brother, family or friend who was a victim. Or if you were on that campus and terrified like those who were there were.
I’m saddened by this tragedy, affected by this event, but I can’t know what it feels like and I think it would be insulting to say I did.
I do know it will take time to heal. There will need to be time and space for the feelings of grief, and for processing this horror before healing can really begin. Trying to rush past that in order to avoid the pain and loss won’t help. Squashing those hard feelings may postpone visible impact but will ferment into more damage. Numbing is a totally natural response to something like this, but eventually the emotions need be felt and gone through for any kind of healing to take place.
Expecting that anyone directly affected by this will ever be completley over it and will be back to who they were before is unreasonable and I do not believe it should be a goal. This must change them.
But that does not mean that finding a way through is not possibe. It will be a journey to someplace yet unknowable. Allowing it to change someone who has survived this is how to honor the victims.
Death and violence are not rites of passage
You and I will try to make sense of the utter madness. And we in the media will report on every conceivable element of the worst shooting rampage in our nation’s history as we try to learn more about the lives cut short by a 23-year-old man named Cho Seung-Hui.
It is also likely that too many of us will fail to ask and seek answers to the most important question of all: Why are we, our society and our culture, tolerating the deaths of so many of our college students? While the horror of the murders in Blacksburg galvanize our attention, we in the national media seemingly lack the capacity to report and analyze what has become accepted violence and death on campuses around the country.
Fatal mass shootings in our nation’s elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and colleges number just over 250 killed in the past 80 years. While shooting violence is worsening, it does not approach the toll of other violence on our college youth.
We all seem unable to assimilate the fact that thousands of college students are dying violently each year. About 1,100 students each and every year will commit suicide, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and four of every five young people who attempt suicide exhibit clear warning signs.
The rate of drug overdoses among teens and young adults more than doubled over the five-year period from 1999 to 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. And each year, on average, there are 1,400 drinking-related deaths among college students nationwide, according to the Task Force on College Drinking. The Task Force estimates that binge drinking by college students also contributes to 70,000 cases of sexual assault or rape each year.
The Virginia Tech murders are horrible. And because they are dramatic, they have our full attention. But for all our sakes, I hope we also ask ourselves why our society permits what has become the routine slaughter of a far greater number of young people on our college campuses. We should also ask ourselves why we’ve done so little to understand the causes of all these senseless deaths on our campuses.
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by Lou Dobbs ~ April 18, 2007 ~ CNN