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Another Day, Another Massacre

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Of all the topics I was considering blogging about today, none seemed appropriate after the Virginia massacre. Viagra for women? Trivial. Landlords charging tenants extra deposit money for pets? Ditto. Online shopaholicism? Self-centered. Thoughts on books I’m reading? Ditto, and irrelevant. Since there’s no escaping it, I’ll put forth some of my first impressions, with one caveat: if any of my conclusions turn out to be off the wall, forgive me. It takes me awhile to digest the full implications of major events.

For instance: Is it off the wall to smell violence against women in an incident where both men and women were murdered in cold blood? Early reports suggest that the gunman was going after his girlfriend, and the first casualty was someone who tried to run interference. Newspapers are always reporting violence against women as love triangles or crimes of passion. Even the term domestic dispute glosses over the truth.

Is it off the wall to turn to TV for information, only to be disgusted by the tone of the coverage? First come the people closest to the tragedy, struggling to make sense of it. Then comes the local angle in which they dig up anyone from the neighborhood who might have once attended the university, or who knows someone who does. Then local news explores the many ways this could happen at your child’s school. Finally comes talk of healing. This is all within the first 24 hours after the incident. Not once did I hear the word grief. The conversation went from shock and confusion straight to healing. As part of the healing process, there’s to be a convocation on campus this afternoon, at which our nation’s Chief Nitwit will speak. News announcers referred to him as the nation’s Healer in Chief.

By now it is well known that getting through someone’s death can take years, even when they die in bed at the age of 98. Yet less than 24 hours after 33 people were shot down in a public space, a space normally considered to be fairly safe from violence, the healing process will begin. Give these people a break! What good is all the research that goes on regarding phenomena like death, trauma, the grief process? All the newspaper and magazine stories that report the results of such studies? If we know so much about the way humans process death, why are we talking about healing so soon?

I’d better stop here. I’m getting angry and I’m being nasty, and at times like these we’re supposed to be solemn and sympathetic. I must be wired all wrong, because I don’t feel solemn and sympathetic; I feel pissed off. When will we learn that these crimes are not senseless, are not a surprise, are not completely unpredictable? When will we start addressing the ailments in our society that encourage violence to fester? Somehow I don’t think firing Don Imus is gonna do it.


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