It is Friday again. Friday April 20, 2007. Four days past the most horrific school shooting in history at Virginia Tech and eight years past Colombine. I have been busy all week with work and school, so I haven’t caught most of the coverage on TV. I have read the write-ups on the web and listened to NPR. So it was with great shock that I caught myself crying on the way to work this morning. NPR had a story about 2 survivors who were in the same classroom that awful morning; the classroom the killer killed himself in. Part of the story can be read here, but the part that broke my heart was the older brother (a Senior at VT) who has not left the side of his freshman sister. He is feeling horrible guilt, because his little sister only went to VT because he was there. I just want to hug him. I guess he personified everyone who has been injured and killed and their families and it just ripped me up inside.
Why does this happen? It isn’t really as new as everyone claims, the worst school shooting in our history before Monday was at Texas Tech in 1966 (before I was born). I talked to my mom about that last night and she was just dumbfounded by the fact that it was happening even then. But there was no CNN®, FoxNews®, or MSNBC®. There were no 24 hour news stations. There were only 2 TV stations where my parents lived then. Is it worse now? Are there more shootings? Maybe. Maybe not. We are just inundated with information for weeks (and years) afterwards. I am not saying that we should not remember the 8 year anniversary of the murders at Colombine. We need to remember. But it is also very important that we learn to heal.
Do the media make murder/suicide look “cool” to those who are slightly off center? I have read (several places, several times through the years) that these large highly televised murdering sprees encourage others to aspire to this level of infamy. Is murder contagious? Is suicide? I am not a psychologist. I don’t know. I honestly don’t think anyone does.
I mentioned on Monday that we needed to get rid of the guns. Apparently no one is reading this blog, because I didn’t get any death threats over my desire for more encompassing gun laws. The authorities are saying that the murderer bought his guns legally, but according to NPR and what I just read at Newsweek, most believe he did not legally buy the gun. He would not have been able to buy those handguns if they were outlawed. There is not reason for an honest person (unless in the military or law enforcement) to own a weapon that’s sole purpose is for murder.