Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Disbelief and guns and such

Like everyone, I can't believe what's happened at Virginia Tech. I've been following the news intently, particularly the international coverage of it (plus NPR...there's been amazing coverage on All Things Considered, no surprise there). And I'm pretty tripped out by the fact that the shooter was Korean. Korea things resonate so differently with me ever since I lived there. (I think that country is about as misunderstood as Palestine.) I was fascinated by this story anyway but now am even more ratcheted up trying to follow how it's being perceived there.

Oh, and by the way, the emphasis on him being "from Korea" is a little out of proportion. I mean, he's Korean, but he's also been in the U.S. since he was 8. Which, I might add, makes him probably as judged, and as accused of being different, in Korea as he probably has been in the U.S. Because that's such a valuable way we humans like to spend our time, of course, pointing the "you're not like me" finger at one another.

Among other things weirding me out about the story is the creative writing angle, how one of his English teachers was concerned enough about his disturbing writing to report her concerns. This is doubly intriguing. As a law student, we studied in Torts last semester the duty or lack thereof of university officials to report potentially threatening students. It's so complicated. As a writer, I have sat in creative writing classes and informal writing groups listening to some pretty disturbing things people have written. You never really do know what's an outlet and what's an indication.

As I said the other day, I'm happy to acknowledge if I ever see George W. Bush do something right, and I was thinking today that I might give him and Laura kudos for heading to Virginia Tech for the memorial. But just now I was considering these words he spoke at the memorial:

"It's impossible to make sense of such violence and suffering. Those whose lives were taken did nothing to deserve their fate. They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now they're gone, and they leave behind grieving families...a grieving nation."

Interesting how you could apply those very words to so many innocent Iraqi lives that have been lost in Bush's "mission accomplished."

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (so to speak) a few months ago I watched the movie American Gun, and I highly recommended it when I did, but it is suddenly even more bizarrely, horrifyingly, sadly relevant. I invite you to seriously consider watching it. It should go without saying that you can get it from Netflix. (And I reiterate, my friends, that if you're still not Netflixing, just tell me; I'll send you a free trial.)

Sad, sobering, shocking. Sad sad sad.

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