James Leroy Wilson's blog

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech

Eight years ago, a co-worker asked my reaction to Columbine. I said I was more concerned about the war on Serbia. Later I apologized to the co-worker for my insenstivity because I remembered she was from Colorado and Columbine hit close to home. But she said that there was nothing to apologize for and it was easy for her to overlook tragedies when they happen overseas.

I feel the same away about the shootings at Virginia Tech as I did about Columbine. Horrible and tragic, to be sure, but also an isolated incident. There is nothing to think about, no action to take. These things happen, but they rarely happen, and there's nothing we can do to stop them other than allow peaceful individuals to protect themselves in public. The number of people with the will and the means for mass murder is one in tens of millions. Any action we might take to prevent it will only infringe on the freedom of innocent, peaceful people and will not stop determined murderers.

I am sad for what happened, but meanwhile, dozens of Iraqis are killed each day, largely due to our invasion and occupation of their country. I'm sad about that, too.

I will comment on this topic in my Partial Observer piece this Thursday.

1 comment:

  1. Jim, I hear you about putting the tragedy in VA in perspective - it would be just another day in Baghdad, since our invasion.

    But there did seem to be lots of red flags in that individual's life, definite evidence of a troubled soul revealed to professors and administrators. The question I have is, What is a university's responsibility for the mental health or the character of its students? They were going to give this guy a college degree in a couple of weeks and send him out into the world. Had they prepared him for life? Not just learning information and completing assignments, but character development.

    I feel that the most important part of education is mentoring by caring, challenging teachers. What kind of mentoring had he received? What professors had built a relationship with him? This is not to blame anyone other than the villain in this tragedy, but to ask how our institutions of learning are serving as communities of learning. This guy had spent years at Virginia Tech, and no one really knew him. If education is just about learning stuff, we don't need universities - we can just read textbooks and learn online.