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16 Apr 2007 / Julie

tragedy happens while the world works

If you haven’t heard already, the “most deadly school shooting in U.S. history” happened today at Virginia Tech today at 7.15am and 9.15am; Governor Kaine declared Virginia a state of emergency. Here’s the college newspaper’s coverage on today’s events (website is of the newspaper’s parent company, as the college newspaper’s servers are down).

I am currently 4 hours away at the Computers in Libraries conference. I heard nothing about this until my drive back to my hotel after the day’s programs. I’m appalled that I went through the entire day without hearing anything about it. No announcement was made, nothing overheard despite the many people futzing with their laptops all day. What if someone had a sibling, offspring, family member, or friend at VT today? How would they have known since all of our cell phones had no signal on the floor on which the programs were being held?

Watching and listening to the various news broadcasts and commentary on the tragedy I’m annoyed at those (like Pat Brown – criminal profiler – on Headline Prime) who immediately use this as a jumping off point to bitch and moan about the “state of the nation” how we should be blaming all the violence in the media which, according to Pat Brown, “creates psychopaths.”

It’s easy to start spouting crap when we don’t know all the information. This society, as imperfect as it is, doesn’t breed psychopaths. Normal people, everyday, see the same things on tv, on the news, in movies, and online that “psychopaths” do. The only difference is that there is something in some people’s brains that misfires and processes things differently.

Although, I do agree with the Neighborhood Librarian when she speaks of kids who aren’t raised being able to handle the stress that they might face in life. I know what it’s like to be at a breaking point. At that point where you no longer see glimmers of light anywhere, let alone at the end of a tunnel. The point where the only way out of what you’re feeling is OUT.

But there is a line between OUT and taking others with you. That line is the difference between a brain misfire, an unhealthy upbringing (when is the last time you TALKED to your kid? or had dinner together and found out what they were feeling?) and not.

An interesting point was brought up during Headline Prime that when our parents were children, they have no recollection of fist fist fights, let alone shootings in their schools. “Psychopaths” are always going to exist- those people who have inherent misfires in their brains. All throughout history there have been people who did things like this. The difference today is speed and technology. Not only can someone harm people faster (guns versus a knife, or blunt object) but people know about world events faster and more thoroughly than my mother or grandmother’s generations did. My point is that it’s not that things like this didn’t happen – they happened, just at a different severity than they do now.

I was going to blog the programs of CIL today, but this was more important. I’ll catch up on today’s programs tomorrow. You’ll live. Some didn’t.

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