Sunday, February 17, 2008

NIU Shooting

I couldn't help but bring this painful event up, mostly because I am so disturbed by it. I wanted to check and see how far in the news the NIU shooting on Friday had fallen. I checked the BBC news and there was a reference at the bottom of the page. The Washington Post had a photo slide show at the bottom of their home page. Upon a quick scan of the New York Times home page there didn't seem to be any link to a story covering the shooting, until I kept scanning down to the bottom where there was one reference under Education. Upon checking I found a human interest story about the shooters girlfriend with a large eye catching photo at the top of their home page. Of course, the Chicago Tribune's homepage was an entire spread about the shooting (if it wasn't, I would have seriously doubted my sanity).

My point in looking at all this is to see how fast news passes away. The Virginia Tech shooting seemed to stop everyone dead in their tracks. This didn't seem to have as much of an impact. I wonder, is everyone becoming numb? All these shootings are awful and make me question the world. According to the news, both of the shooters had a history of mental illness. This brings up another question, are American so naive and unaware of mental illness that those who need help and support are not getting it?

Jack Johnson puts it best in his song Sleep Through the Static--"Who needs keys when we've got clubs? Who needs please when we've got guns?" and also in Fall Line--"somebody saw him jump, but nobody saw him slip, I guess he lost a lot of hope, and then he lost his grip."


ljt said...

There was another aspect of this shooting -- or, rather, the aftermath and mourning -- that stays with me. I was listening to a report that some major networks had dispatched trucks and reporters to Blacksburg to ask Va. Tech students "how they felt" about the NIU shooting. I was and am horrified at the crassness of that. And then I heard a report that students at VT had taken a rock similar to the ones they had used as memorials at Tech, and had painted it, and had given it to NIU students as a gesture of empathy, sympathy, understanding -- whatever that emotion is. And I thought how wonderful and primitive; here we are so modern and yet to express grief, we're still handing people memorial rocks. It just spoke to me of how basic our need is to communicate, to share, to record. And I guess maybe I should think about that when I'm angry and the intrusiveness of some journalists; maybe it's misguided humanity and not just a drive for news fodder. And so, the question: how do we change that human and journalistic impulse into something that serves humanity better?

Ashley said...

Very interesting thoughts. I heard about the VT students expressing sympathy but did not know about their gesture. When you think about journalist like that it does make a difference. I to am appalled sometimes at their apparent crassness. I think to change the human and journalistic impulse to serve humanity better we must first all learn how to communicate better. Although technology appears to have linked us together more, at the same time it has allowed us to hide from the more difficult encounters. Being close to people is not easy, e-mailing them is. I think overall the one thing humanity needs to strive for is communicating face-to-face more effectively. I think that is one of the most difficult tasks in the entire world.