Shaddup Already!


Virginia Tech

Okay, so I just heard about this horrific event. Perhaps that is because I refuse to watch televised news. I happened to be watching a show while on the computer. When that show was over, I didn't get up to change the channel and now I'm hearing about this shooting. I'm disturbed that I hadn't heard about it before and I want to know what happened.

While the newspeople are acting all important and discussing the topics that will surely be up for debate in our country once again, it hits me. The gunman got what he wanted.

There was a mention of all the violent media in our culture as being a topic of debate in the coming days, but I think that is a small, miniscule factor in an event like this. I think the incessant news coverage of these events is far worse than any video game or rap song.

Let's think about it--you're desperate enough to want to kill yourself. For whatever reason, you've long felt invisible. You desire to "teach them a lesson," and "show them all." So you take weaponry into whatever facility you choose and you shoot. Randomly, not randomly, it doesn't really matter. You know what you're going to get. You've planned it all out.

Maybe in the final moments before you off yourself, you smile at the thought of the millions of people who will be listening to the lesson you taught that day. Unfortunately the lesson is never what it should be.

Have people started treating others with respect and dignity in all situations? Nope. Not at my school. I often look at the sheer venom with which kids treat one another. Sure I can stop it in my classroom, but I can't stop the harrassing phone calls, the ugly emails or the ostracizing from peers. Hell, I'm guilty of it myself from time to time. I try my best to treat others with that respect and dignity I mentioned above, but I sometimes fail.

So now you have the victim of whatever who is desperately crying out for attention, but feels invisible--on his good days. On his bad days he's there simply for the enjoyment of neanderthals who feel so poorly about themselves that they have to drag others to their level.

This person who wants attention and is desperate enough to contemplate suicide just might be watching the news tonight. And do you think that person is going to empathize with the victims or their families? Most likely not. They're going to live viacriously through the person who just made history. Bloody, shameful history.

Maybe, just maybe, we need to turn off the news. Maybe we ought to hug our children instead of walking around with a cell phone permanently attached to our ears. Maybe we should make time for our families and what's really important. Maybe we should make sure all the children know there is at least one person who loves them with all their hearts. Maybe we need to tell our children what they mean to us and how we see them. Maybe we need to just let the world pass us by for a few minutes while we make just one other person feel special.

You know, I've purposely chosen not to have children because I'm unsure I would live up to the committment I believe children deserve. I know parenting is the most difficult job one can have. I respect those that do it the best that they can, but I just shake my heads at those who bring kids into the world for whatever reason. Maybe they thought they would look cute carrying around a little baby. Who knows.

Those of you with kids, take them aside tonight and tell them what they mean to you. Those of you who teach, make sure your students know what they mean to you. Tomorrow, I'm going to make it a point to say and do things to lift the egos of my kids--if even for a moment. Because in this crazy, chaotic world, don't we all deserve a little bit of validation?


On a note of "What was he thinking?" I heard the following on the news show I started watching (I'm paraphrasing):

reporter: You know this is the deadliest shooting in America history and you were a part of it. It's awful and horrible that you had to be a part of it, but knowing that it was the deadliest shooting in American history, how do you feel about being a part of it?

There is an almost jubilant feel to the reports. The same kind of frenzied excitement that sickens me when other tragedies occur. Give us the news, just the news. We don't need to hear about this and relish in the details morning, noon and night.

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