Thoughts for Thursday

Okay, this doesn't have to do with anything literary, but I just had to get this off my chest:

Americans and the American media are rightly in mourning over 33 deaths in Virginia, yet 127+ deaths and woundings in Iraq (the day after the VT incident) are barely noticed. The President said of the Virginia Tech shooting: "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, and grieving classmates, and a grieving nation." Couldn't the same be said of innocent Iraqi citizens? Where is the compassion for them?

I don't understand how we can express outrage over the killings of Americans, yet keep an administration in office that wrongly attacked another country and insists on perpetuating a pointless war. I don't understand how we can express shock over a shooting rampage when our culture -- from the president to the NRA to the defense and entertainment industries -- glorifies violence. I don't understand how we can put a premium on our own lives and so little on the lives of others.

It makes me ashamed.

Sort of related News
Great tribute to the late Kurt Vonnegut in the New York Observer: "The idea of Vonnegut Day is simple: Wearing Kurt Vonnegut mustaches and wigs, we will try, for one day, to live by the principles he espoused in his beautiful books: honesty, outrage, righteous grumpiness, kindness, and the incantation, in plain speech, of certain truths normally considered too naïve to even speak aloud, much less to live by."


Anonymous said...

I feel the same way you do LK. It makes me so sad that we pay so little attention to the fact that innocent people are being killed every day in Iraq.

On a lighter note, I like Vonnegut Day, thouhg I'm not sure I'd look very good with a mustache :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with you completely - our approaches to this are so disparate when really they shouldn't be. I knew our media would be all over this as soon as it happened and it makes me sick. Still, I guess the shock of losing so many students in such a...relatable environment is what takes our breath away. Perhaps in a war-torn country we expect death, but don't on university campuses? Regardless, I am the choir to which you preach.

LK said...

Courtney, you make a good point about the fact that part of the shock is, understandably, from the event happening in such a seemingly benign environment.

Stefanie, but wouldn't it be fun to wear a Vonnegut wig?

bhadd said...

Hopefully all Americans see this, to produce Iraqi reality that clearer. I thought similar stuff.

The Hood Company

Amanda Roper said...

I mentioned something about this at work and was accused of being insensitive. apparently -- only american deaths should make one sad.

Anonymous said...

Great post LK.

verbivore said...

I agree with you 100% and am glad you mentioned this on your blog - we're sadly and horribly apathetic to things that happen far away or just that bit beyond our easily understandable experience. On the other hand, when the violence gets too big and out of control (as it is in Iraq) how do we even begin to cope? Not an excuse by any means, but an equally difficult question.