Very busy time the last two weeks, and I’m not out of it yet. I’ve been storing up some thoughts for the weblog, and hope to get them up soon.
One thought in passing this morning. Anybody whose first impulse in reaction to the Virginia Tech shootings is to pontificate about gun control (for or against), video games, masculinity, Asian culture or anything else should be ashamed of themselves.
You can talk about any given recent homicide in Philadelphia as part of a structural problem, and likely be right, though any single incident might be idiosyncratic. Mass shootings like this one, though we often collectively imagine them to be common or systematic, are largely individual and aberrant events. If they stem from any recurrent, underlying social problems, those social problems are much more granular in psychological and cultural terms than “video games” or even “masculinity”.
Even that is a debate for later. Is it so hard to let the dead lie in peace for a few days, to reflect quietly and somberly on the horror and pain of it? Do we have to domesticate every event into the simple-mindedness of single-cause arguments, master the meaninglessness that sometimes comes with being human with the jabber of the punditocracy? Can’t we just reach out collectively to put a quiet hand on the shoulder of those who have lost friends, family and colleagues?