Another shooting. I’m shocked and troubled by the violence at Northern. But at the same time, I’m not as upset about it as I expected to be. Not for a second shall I, do I, will I make light of what happened. It’s as terrible as what happened at Virginia Tech; the numbers dead aren’t the issue, but the violation of the University space; the killing of innocent people in the best, the most profound time of their lives.

But then the responses come: the “heartfelt thoughts” which seem more like grabbing a public relations opportunity than expressing genuine sorrow; the immediate rejection of “politicizing” the shootings; and worst of all the action/reaction thinking (Guns are/not the problem! Colleges are/not doing enough! There oughta be a law! etc.). Much of this discourse (and there’s no need to link it) leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

Maybe I’m just relieved things weren’t much worse. There could have been more killed and injured. The professor killed could have been my friend Michael Day. The students could have been mine. After all, they attended the same high schools, rooted for the same football teams, made the same friends.

Grief and guilt make a strange mix: I hurt for the families of the six who are gone, and wonder why I don’t hurt more.

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One Response to Northern

  1. Glenn says:

    I also wonder about this rejection of “politicizing” a tragedy. What exactly does that mean? Isn’t it just as political to say we shouldn’t talk about the implications (meaning, in a back-handed way, that it’s fine to keep the status quo?–isn’t that incredibly political?). It seems to me those that say we shouldn’t politicize most often say that before any political commentary comes out, meaning “Don’t you dare start talking about reasonable responses to such a tragedy….” I say, why the hell not respond! I’d say searching for reasonable responses is precisely how we should respond to a tragedy. Anything else seems politically and socially irresponsible and the rhetoric that we shouldn’t have the political discussion seems equally irresponsible.

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