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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Massacres

http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2007/04/17/just_an_ordinary_day
_in_iraqin_virginia.php


Just An Ordinary Day In Iraq—In Virginia

First, there’s shock, depression, identification with the victims and outrage that such a thing could happen here. Then comes the inevitable search for meaning, and the debate over gun laws, video games, values and more. All accomplished with a stunning lack of perspective.

For one thing, the Virginia Tech incident was not even remotely that nation’s worst mass shooting, as some media are claiming…unless, of course, you don’t consider Native Americans or African Americans to be real people. Try to recall the Indian massacres at Marias, Sand Creek, Wounded Knee and now-forgotten locales. And the death toll of black people in Tulsa in 1921 probably topped 300. Of course, soldiers are human, too, so the 3,600 or so dead at the Battle of Antietam also top the 33 dead yesterday in Blacksburg.

But let’s widen our view to the present and include the American-led war in Iraq, and then narrow it to Baghdad alone. In July 2006, 1,417 bodies wound up at the city morgue, many shot to death at point-blank range, other blown apart in a less personal manner. All dead. That’s 46 people a day murdered, day after day after day. All had families; all had immortal souls, if you believe that; all were human. While the death rate in Baghdad seems to have slacked somewhat, as Iraq Body Count blogger Lily Hamourtziadou’s weekly report concludes, “Violence in Iraq is rising at an ‘unbelievably rapid pace’, according to the Pentagon’s latest assessment of the security situation.”

None of this is supposed to belittle the horror of Blacksburg in the least. It can’t. Murder is murder, whether conducted by a deranged gunman or under the protective cover of war. Try, just try to identify with the victims at Virginia Tech and extend that to America’s minorities, America’s battered and murdered women, and to Iraq.

What is happening in Iraq is wrong. And the first response of a rational person who finds him or herself doing wrong is to stop doing it. We can’t stop everyone in the world from murdering their neighbors, but we can stop doing it ourselves.

And as for the historical murders of blacks and Native Americans, the effect of those acts is still very much with us. The victims and even the perpetrators live with collective memories of unatoned-for massacres, and for all the other thousands of deaths whose toll does not reach into double or triple digits but are not wholly forgotten. Those killings come back to haunt us in a thousand different ways, ranging from the persistence of white supremacy to the shame of America’s Indian reservations.

Blacksburg was not ordinary, but at the same time it was. While we’re searching our national souls over this, let’s search a little deeper and more broadly. Not to add to our guilt, which doesn’t much help, but to make us better people.--Alec Dubro Tuesday, April 17, 2007 11:17 AM

COMMENTS:

Dem Soldier said...
Almost 200 people dead today in Iraq.As a college student, who spends around the school most of my day, five days a week, my heart is broken with these young people who have nothing to do with world's problems but a mad rat had to take their young lives. I have heard some on the right saying these students should be armed or should have defended themselves from the mentally ill person. Where did we go wrong in this country, that we can't even let the dead families have few death to mourn?
Wednesday, April 18, 2007 6:30:00 PM

Marty said...
Looks like you and me think alike. But you express it better! I posted on the carnage in Iraq which was in response to the carnage in Virginia. Lest we forget.Keep speaking out.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007 6:37:00 PM


Worried said...
Thank you, Dem Soldier and Marty for your contributions.There are always questions after a tragedy like this but few answers. What protection is there against a deranged mind?Anti-gun factions cry out to ban all guns, but the simple truth is that criminals can always obtain weapons. Pro-gun factions cry out for citizens to arm themselves for protection. Shall we become so paranoid that we become an armed society and risk even more carnage from foolish or mistaken efforts at self protection? Schools should be places where our young are safe. What is the solution? I do not know.
Thursday, April 19, 2007 1:07:00 AM

Labels:

4 Comments:

  • At Wednesday, April 18, 2007 7:30:00 PM , Blogger Dem Soldier said...

    Almost 200 people dead today in Iraq.

    As a college student, who spends arount the school most of my day, five days a week, my heart is broken with these young people who have nothing to do with world's problems but a mad rat had to take their young lives. I have heard some on the right saying these students should be armed or should habe defended themselves from the mentally ill person. Where did we go wrong in this country, that we can't even let the dead families have few death to mourn?

     
  • At Wednesday, April 18, 2007 7:31:00 PM , Blogger Dem Soldier said...

    Correction...should have. Not should habe.

     
  • At Wednesday, April 18, 2007 7:37:00 PM , Blogger Marty said...

    Looks like you and me think alike. But you express it better! I posted on the carnage in Iraq which was in response to the carnage in Virginia. Lest we forget.

    Keep speaking out.

     
  • At Thursday, April 19, 2007 2:07:00 AM , Blogger Worried said...

    Thank you, Dem Soldier and Marty for your contributions.

    There are always questions after a tragedy like this but few answers. What protection is there against a deranged mind?

    Anti-gun factions cry out to ban all guns, but the simple truth is that criminals can always obtain weapons.

    Pro-gun factions cry out for citizens to arm themselves for protection. Shall we become so paranoid that we become an armed society and risk even more carnage from foolish or mistaken efforts at self protection?

    Schools should be places where our young are safe. What is the solution? I do not know.

     

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