Monday, April 16, 2007

Monsters among us

As news of today's massacre emerges out of the Virginia Tech campus, I'm left with a sick feeling of deja vu. I've been to two schools - Dawson and Concordia - that have experienced fatal campus shootings. I lived in Montreal when Marc Lepine mowed down 14 women at Ecole Polytechnique.

I have no words to respond to this latest tragedy, which stands to be the worst school rampage in U.S. history. Columbine, it would seem, was just another milestone on an ugly and worsening journey of senselessness.

Yet I feel compelled to at least make mention of it here, to add it to my ongoing life's journal. Because I worry that not saying anything might suggest an acceptance of this, that regular school shootings are a normal part of modern life.

They aren't. And I wish I had something more than words to offer up to parents who send their children to school only to have them never return home. This isn't how life is supposed to turn out. Then again, who ever said life followed any sort of script?

Your turn: Is there an answer to any of this?

19 comments:

Linda said...

since my days are not spent watching "big people" tv (read: wonder pets, teletubbies, disney channel...ugh), I didn't even hear of this...but I'm going to read some news now....

There is no answer. People think that problems can be solved with violence. Violence begets violence.

carli said...

Your title says it all, Carmi---no ordinary human being could do this. It scares the heck out of me that a gun in the hands of an unfeeling, remorseless, soulless creature can cause so much suffering.

This event now stands not only as the worst college shooting ever, but the worst shooting rampage in U.S. history.

The world sucks sometimes.
You know what makes it better? Wiggling puppies.

Mr. Althouse said...

No. I wrote about it today too. This is just stupid and it seems there is nothing that can be done to prevent it. I don't get it, I really don't.

Mike

Anna said...

So senseless...so tragic. This world can be incredibly painful.

kenju said...

It is unthinkable horror, Carmi. I will never understand it.

Awareness said...

monsters among us and all around us. As I wrote on Mike's blog, i'm left feeling numb by it all.

And, like you my thinking went directly to Dawson and Concordia.... and then to the kindergarten in Scotland.......Russian on the first day of school a couple of years ago.....to the shooting in Alberta.....to Columbine.....to the Amish community last year.

then........all the wars and deaths. It simply has numbed me.

no answers.........lots of pondering and prayers........and a big WTF?

MileHighDivaCyn said...

I have visited the VA Tech campus and Blacksburg, VA. Quiet and tucked away in the smoky mountains. I don't understand the reason for the delay in securing the campus. A murder on a campus in the dorm should give reason to think there is a gunman at large. Okay, I've second guessed the police. What I don't get is how you can be so decimated in your mind to kill so many people. I have to go with Carli, in times like this, it's time for baby kisses, puppy breath and purring kittens to bring our stress levels down.

Cravey said...

I admit to having an unseemly fascination with serial killers and FBI profilers - one of them (Robert Ressler or John Douglas I can't remember which) once wrote (I'm paraphrasing) that you should close your eyes and imagine the very worst thing you could imagine one human doing to another.

NOW..
Know.
It's already been done.

I believe we use the words "inhuman" and "monster" to distance ourselves from the reality that they are human..and while not like "us" they are just as human as the rest of us. "WE" don't have to like it, but it's true.

Also, carli's right. Wiggling puppies help.

Veda said...

Cravey's got a bit of a point - these indiviuals started off as human, therefore my first guess at an answer would be to look closely at environments - family, school, peers, pop-culture, cities/towns... It's not an easy idea, let alone task. No one ever wants to admit there's something wrong and when trouble begins the first question is, "Why?" I don't have any all-encompassing umbrella answer any more than the others here, but I'd start with the upbringing environment. Maybe it's a simple case here that no one ever explained what responsibility means. But I don't know. Hardest part is that nothing can erase the tragedy.

margalit said...

I just wrote about this too. I can't understand it. It is mind boggling that this has happened...again. And we do not learn. We do not change the gun laws. We do not deal with mental illness. We ignore kids that are in bad shape.

I'm so angry!

Dara said...

2400 miles away from the tragedy, I meet my friend's friend who is visiting from Blacksburg, VA - and is a professor at that very college. Everything is so impermanent, and we are so interconnected.

Sara said...

Yesterday before I heard about this incident, I wrote this which was spurred by something I had heard on Virgin Radio while at work.

I am stunned, shocked, speachless . . . what is this world coming to?!?!?!

Bob-kat said...

Such a tragedy. It is hard for us to comprehend in the UK I'm afraid. Over here we have much tighter gun laws and owning a gun is the exception here.

Terri said...

It's impossible to make sense of this senseless and violent act.
I also wasn't going to blog about it. But after being glued to the Today Show special coverage all morning, I then felt compelled to write something for my blog tomorrow.

srp said...

The media "second guessers" started screaming about the administration not locking down the campus early enough and calling for the heads of the college president and campus police chief. It sounds like an easy thing to do... lock it all down an hour before the second massacre. Then I thought about the little town in Mississippi, that I lived in. We had no more than 15,000 in population. I couldn't imagine locking down a town of that size and Virginia Tech has a student and faculty population over 25,000. How! How do you do that?

How do you predict what is on a psychopath's mind? How many have similar advantages and disadvantages, how many loners or geeks or simply outcast persons are there in the world and yet how many go on to murder with such malice and forethought? How can you tell which one will and which one won't? In our free society, how can you force someone to get professional help against their will?

No, there is no answer.

My daughter is at William and Mary. She is an RA as was one of the victims at tech. She has friends and residents on her floor who have brothers and sisters and high school friends at Virginia Tech. W&M students were devastated as well. I think students at all colleges cannot help but be thinking about the "what if's", what if it happens here? It is a helpless feeling to have no answers.

So, what we have to do, the only thing we can do is talk to our kids, hug them, love them... be there.

Stacy said...

Carmi,

Thanks for the kind words. I like the comment you made about mentioning it. It should not become so much a part of our lives that we just let it go by without a word.

I get angry about this because in order to have any sort of defense in situations like this, you almost have to think like an evil person. I'm mad because I don't want to think like that, and I don't want my children to have to either.

The solution? It is so complicated, isn't it? Kindness, look out for those who are weaker, empathy...I think those might be good places to start.

byhisgracealone said...

"not saying anything might suggest acceptance"....so true Carmi...so very true....

I posted a prayer on my blog....

I have a great appreciation for neighbors such as you...

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

No Carmi, there doesn't seem to be an answer to any of this...just more questions---more and more and MORE questions----Sad To Say.

Carolyn said...

No, there isn't.

People wonder where they missed the "signs" of his impending psychotic break. I'm not sure there are ever signs. But there was a "past" that perhaps could have indicated he shouldn't have been allowed to remain on a public campus.