Saturday, April 21, 2007

Virginia Tech Shootings

As an American, it's difficult not to be inundated with news this week about the shootings in Virginia. I think it behooves us to take it in and comment upon it for our friends across the world, and at home. My heart is so sad about the children and teachers who were killed.

Of course, my first reaction when I saw the inital live tv news was simply, "Oh, no, it's more student killings." I didn't think for one moment it was a terriorist plot or anything of the sort. It seems a national disorder in the States that our children are doing these things in their schools. I wouldn't be surprised if this sort of problem on a lesser scale is happening every day in several locations across the nation. Children/young people carry weapons all the time in this country. They threaten others with them. They kill others with them. They bully eachother all the time.

Children in our society see violence in every media: on tv and nearly every movie and video game, on their computers; and, in their homes, neighborhood streets and schools every day. They hear all manner of vulgarity and see it on the streets and in the schools and in their homes on a daily basis. They are surrounded by a world of "dog eat dog," survival of the fitest, every man for himself, survival/reality tv, the good die young, gangs, sex and drugs, rap and sexy music videos, etc...morality is pretty much unknown and out of fashion.

This is no longer a country with moral foundations. We've become a nation of greed and tolerance of things unheard of in former generations. There are no boundaries, no limits for what we will tolerate seeing and/or hearing in the media.

And, we fear our own children. Because their parents are unavailable or disconnected, many young adults have disconnected from family and feelings. Games and gangs become their connection. Fantasy and unrealistic expectations become their visons. And, when they are disappointed, they get angry enough to become violent...because that's what they see getting results most of the time. Violence and aggressive behaviors probably gets them what they want at home and in the neighborhood. Fear works better than negotiation and love.

I'm not surprised when violence breaks out at schools and colleges anymore. I know that this young Korean man was a psycopath. But, the boys at Colombine HS were not. Children killing children isn't news anymore.

I'm not saying all American children are undisciplined and lack moral foundations, values and boundaries. I certainly don't believe that. I am saying that it's getting to be more and more the majority; however, that do lack these important characteristics. I don't think it's their fault in many cases. It's parenting and strong role-models to a large degree.

It's difficult to parent in a permissive world gone mad. But we have to be vigilant. It's a dangerous and harsh world, but we have to allow our children to go out the door prepared to face it. It's frightening, and we have to arm them with the tools and the armour to protect themselves mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically and educationally. We have to love them enough to allow them to be angry at us for protecting them!

I think all we can do is vote responsibly, pray for our leaders and the nation, volunteer in our communities, and teach and lead our own children...standing strong for what's of a moral base. We can only live by example, and love our children enough to say "no" sometimes, too.


Barbara said...

You've posted by far the most thoughtful response to this tragedy.

To be honest, this commonplace schoolyard violence is one of the reasons that we haven't moved home to the US. It scares me.

Everyone is so busy doing his/her own thing now that our connections, even to our own kids or parents, are stretched to the breaking point. If you feel like you exist in a void, the step to committing some horrendous crime is much smaller. It's no longer possible to imagine your actions actually having any effect. The teenagers I see seem to live in a sort of gray world where they aren't connected, don't have any accountability ... how can we expect them to truly grasp the consequences of their actions? It both terrifies me and makes me want to cry.

The Silver Thistle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Silver Thistle said...

It's been all over the news here too Deb. It's all very sad. I agree with everything you've said and couldn't agree more.

His violence was probably unavoidable, given that he was most definitely a volatile psychopath, but I think it was all too easy for him to gather the means to carry out the attrocious carnage.

I've got views on this, but a)I'm not American, and b) I'm probably skating on thin ice with my 'take' on things. Maybe I'm taking the simplistic (outsider's) view but fundamentally, a review of the gun law would be my starting place.
We don't have the constitution here but I do know what it is and I realise it would make me unpopular with some but I'd be willing to run the gauntlet if my policy saved something like this from happening again.

Forgive me if I've said the wrong thing. It's not my intention to offend.

Margaret said...

Thank you for saying what many of us feel so eloquently.

Lavender Rose said...

You're right, Sonya, the gun laws are such a debate in the US. It's stepping on the toes of freedom on one hand, and allowing those who defy the laws that protect us to run rampant, on the other hand!! I'm not sure there is an easy solution. That's why I think more parental responsibility is really essential. I don't believe for one minute that that young man's parents didn't know he was a timebomb waiting to explode. The college certainly knew it, too!!
It's frightening that nobody wanted to take responsibility to get him off the streets!

I appreciate all of your candid comments. This isn't an easy topic to go out on a limb about.


Wendy said...

I can't even begin to imagine how many lives are and will always be affected by this senseless tragedy.

But I will give the media credit for no longer showing any more video/pictures that the killer had mailed out to NBC. When I first started to see that, I was truly horrified and thought I would have to stop watching any more news programs altogether.

Finally some common sense....may be its a beginning?