Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Va Tech Family - I'm So Sorry

I cannot imagine being a member of any family touched by this tragedy. My heart is broken for them and my soul is burdened knowing that our culture, both pop culture and political culture, is conducive to an event like this materializing on one of our college campuses where we expect and hope that our beautiful and much loved children will be safe.

I consider each of the young people on our college campuses across this nation to be MY child. I share in each family's sorrow today.

Violence, a significant problem in the United States, is a preventable public health and safety issue that is tracked as a disease by the Centers for Disease Control. *see the valuable information below*

I work in a program in which the curriculum teaches nonviolent conflict resolution skills to our children in grades 2-8. If this type of program cound be implemented in all schools, I'm not saying that a tragedy such as this one could have been prevented, but it can only help our society to give all of its children the tools they need to be self-aware and to make sound and healthy decisions towards others.

It would take a tiny percentage of the federal discretionary budget to move our culture away from the violence that pervades it today. Perhaps, in the days to come, we can have a healthy national discussion about making a new commitment to reduce violence in our diseased culture. The discussion should not only be about music and video games, but the very institutions that we look to for our information - vital to a healthy democracy - such as our television media.

In the shocking case of Virginia Tech, we need to hear more news about what is BEST in all of us rather than seeing the disturbing images of bodies being dragged around and videos of gun shots - repeated again and again. It's sick - and it's making us sick.

In showing the worst of the tragedy again and again and again - 24 hours a day - as the television media did with images of the 911 towers crumbling - MSM contributes to a mental illness that seems to be enveloping our society more and more by the day. I can tell you that I hear, firsthand, how many troubled people out here are affected by seeing these images and hearing about them over and over again. Not just in the case of the recent student killings, but every day.

Let's make a commitment to love one another as we would personally wish to be loved. Let's make a commitment to demanding a media that reflects who we are and not the constant and repeated reflection of shattering defeat surrounding that of which we've tried so hard to fight within our culture.

When we fail, as a society, to see a reflection of the angels of our better nature, the angels have a way of disappearing in the drowning drone of the media's reflection of our worst failures.

There's too much anger and hatred. The greatest gift we could give to the victims of yesterday's senseless killing spree and their grieving families is our cooperation in making sure this does not have to happen again to any more of our precious and valued citizens - old or young.

Elizabeth Edwards realizes that we'll likely never understand why this happened, but if we care and if we possess the will, together we will find a way to change this tragic course:
We don't know the stories yet, but surely we will. And we don't know why, and likely we will never really know and certainly we will never truly understand. But for each of them, we have to try, we have to learn why this tragedy repeats itself here, in this country of the greatest possibilities, a country built on the right to pursue happiness. Why here? We have to figure this out. And then we have to get about the business of fixing it.
For them, and for us all.

Courage and peace and mercy

The CDC began studying patterns of violence in 1980. These early activities grew into a national program to reduce the death and disability associated with injuries outside the workplace. In 1992, CDC established the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) as the lead federal agency for violence prevention. The Division of Violence Prevention (DVP) is one of three divisions within NCIPC.

DVP is committed to stopping violence before it begins (i.e., primary prevention). The division’s work involves:

- Monitoring violence-related injuries

- Conducting research on the factors that put people at risk or protect them from violence

- Creating and evaluating the effectiveness of violence prevention programs

DVP Mission Statement

-Prevent injuries and deaths caused by violence

- Helping state and local partners plan, implement, and evaluate prevention programs

- Conducting research on the effective adoption and dissemination of prevention strategies


Violence Takes its Toll Homicide and suicide are among the leading causes of death in the United States. Learn more

Youth Violence - from CDC
Fact Sheet

The Faces in the photos:

From Top:

Ryan "Stack" Clark, a well-loved Va Tech student who was killed while trying to save a fellow student's life.

Liviu Librescu, a Holocaust survivor and an Israeli engineering and math lecturer who was said to have protected his students' lives by blocking the doorway of his classroom from the approaching gunman. He was killed on the same day that Israel was marking Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day.


Dr Zen said...

I just wanted to let you know that that was a wonderful post. Having read a few of the wingnut offerings, the contrast between "arm everyone and rush the shooter" insanity and your measured, reasonable and heartfelt response is enormous. I know which I prefer. Your post just seems so adult, you know?