Monday April 16, 2007, the day a very disturbed Virginia Tech student shot and killed 32 people, will be remembered for many things. It will be remembered as the worst case of gun violence on a school campus in American history. It will be remembered for those lost and those who were left behind. Most importantly it should be remembered as a wake up call to everyone around the country: A call to each one of us to take personal responsibility in our everyday life to spread love and goodwill to our fellow man.
The mainstream media, as predictable as ever, focussed on sensationalizing this tragedy. Their sound bite mentality and catch phrase riddled reports (ie “Massacre at Virginia Tech”) concentrated on garnering sympathy and ratings. Consequently the issues of campus police response and gun laws in the state of Virginia were emphasized with a very heavy dose of personal information about the victims. Impact upon the family members, surviving students and teachers, and their biographical information (one student “loved Nintendo”) was the focus. We watched people grieve, cry, and hold vigils.
Yet no collective social behavior was ever explored as a possible solution to these kinds of events. Here in lies a huge problem we face as a nation: gun violence apathy. Our complete and collective acceptance of gun violence as a part of American society is the status quo. People are so desensitized by the astronomical incidences of gun violence in this country, they have come to accept these events without question. If we as a society do ask questions, they always seem to focus on gun control laws, ease in purchasing guns, and the psychology behind the perpetrators.
We have reached a point in our violent history where we as a country and as individuals need to take a collective approach to creating a safer planet. On a grassroots level each one of us can and should at least attempt to spread love and care to our fellow human beings. We need to watch out for those people who display irrational behavior; we need to follow up those observations with action and a loving-caring response.
It is time to get involved. It is time to reach out to one another. We must not accept gun violence in our society. Instead we must become more tolerant, observant, caring, loving, and active in our responsibilities to each other.