What's on my mind.

23 April 2007

We are Hokies

...but not Iraqis.

Last Tuesday, during a rundown of the headlines on Morning Edition, there was, of course, a headline about the shooting at VA Tech. There was also a headline about 30 Iraqis being killed in a car bombing in Baghdad.

I don't want to make light of the tragedy at VT or the loss that the families and friends of the victims but more Iraqis die every day due to equally senseless violence. (Does violence really ever make sense?) There are a lot of reasons we, as Americans, mourn more for those students than for the of Iraqis.

School shootings are rare. The students are "like" us. It was close to home. (I grew up in VA and have been to many of the towns and schools mentioned in memorial stories.) School shootings are random (or at least seem so). In contrast, car bombings and other IEDs attacks are common in Iraq; "they" aren't Americans (although I went to school with a number of Iraqis); Iraq is far away (and many Americans can't find it on a map); and the violence is part of a war.

Last Thursday I was on the Samford campus for their Earth Day. About noon there was a memorial held nearby for the VT victims. Where are the memorials for all those killed in Iraq, or Darfur, or who die for lack of clean water, who starve to death, who are killed in gang violence? No one holds mass memorials for these people because there are too many, too often.

It is easy to empathize with people we feel are "like" ourselves. Easy to become numb to the on going horrors and dwell on the new one. This is human nature. But we should aspire to more.

My heart goes out to all who are suffering loss, all who have been hurt, all who have been made afraid by the actions of another...but I can't afford to give much.

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