Ozzily Yours

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Thoughts Inspired by VA Tech

I started writing this as a comment on this post, in which a friend attempts to explain why he does not feel as personally affected by Monday's shootings at Virginia Tech as others might. The more I typed the more I realized I wanted to share what I was thinking with other people.

I think my own emotional involvement must have something to do with the unexpectedness and the vivid nearness of the situation. Multiple deaths that occur via suicide bombers, genocidal campaigns, and our own country's involvement in wars across the globe, horrifying though they are, have become news items we are all inured to, due to both their predictability and their physical remoteness from our day-to-day lives. (Of course, to be fair, perhaps we should all be considering what that lack of attention to those events means in the grand scheme of things.) Monday's tragedy, however, was a total surprise, and something that could, theoretically, happen to any one of us at any time.

So while perhaps I would like to feel high and mighty in claiming I have more "empathy" than others, I don't think that's necessarily the case. Because when I find myself thinking about the students mourning their classmates, parents mourning their children, long-time professors mourning a school that will never be the same - I think it is very much in the context of, "What must those poor people be going through? And what would I do if that were me? How could I possibly handle it if a madman showed up in one of the husband's classrooms tomorrow?"

Logically, I know that the statistical chances of any of us ever being involved in a situation like this are extremely slim. But emotionally, I also know that the security on the husband's campus is somewhat lax. I also know that my office building's security is somewhat lax, and that anyone can bring anything onto the CTA, and that I work kitty-corner from the Sears Tower, one of the most recognizable landmarks in Chicago, and that all of these things, theoretically, could make us targets.

But I also don't think anyone can really change the situation. As Moth observes, "it would take an absolute prohibition of gun ownership to have any real impact, and I just don't see that happening. And even then it won't end the problem completely." And I don't want to live in a country where I have to go through metal detectors to get to work, or the CTA is even slower due to security checks of everyone's bags, or I can't walk onto campus to pick up the husband at the end of the day and chat with his classmates for a few minutes.

Last Friday, the husband and I saw the Steppenwolf's production of The Diary of Anne Frank. And at the time, we discussed it from a somewhat academic viewpoint - the adaption of book to play, the performances of the actors, the interesting choices made in set design. But now I find myself thinking of her famous observation (forgive me for paraphrasing), "I believe people are still good at heart." I guess all that I can do is to try to believe that as well (and, for the most part, I do) and assume that I and my loved ones will never have to go through the horrifying ordeal that so many people are going through in Virginia.

Still, though. It's hard to worry about marketing channel strategy when I'm having heavy thoughts like this....


  • Wow, I was linked and quoted, in a serious post no less. The world must be coming to an end.

    My view is that people are people wherever you go. Good, evil, crazy, sane, you name it. And the only thing we can do to try and make the world a better place is try and get along with them all. But even if every person did that, we would still have events like VA Tech because some people just have mental problems that don't show, until hindsight kicks in, that they are going to snap.

    By Anonymous Moth, at 4/18/2007 7:00 PM  

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