Fulcrum Ruminations

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Too Soon?

Yet another explosion of inexplicable violence. The campus of Virginia Tech thrown into panic and chaos by a deranged gunman. Over thirty people killed in cold blood. Said to be the worst such massacre in American history.

Take a moment, gentle reader, to pause and reflect on the lives so unfairly snuffed out. When the story first broke, did you think to yourself, if only for a moment, what if it's a terrorist attack? I did, tho it quickly became apparent that this was not Al Qaeda or some other shadowy terror group launching another assault.

Students and faculty, young and old. A survivor of the Holocaust. Innocents denied their future because one individual was wracked with a pain he could not assuage. It's sad. It requires some time to absorb. To come to grips with the awful truth of it. Our minds will spin and struggle to assign some meaning to it all, to understand why, even as we know deep inside that there is no "why", because we know that sometimes evil erupts onto our world without warning.

Sadly, tho, it seems that there was warning in this case. The killer left behind at least a year's worth of suspicious behaviour. Measures were contemplated but apparently never acted upon. And now it's too late.

Strangely, sadly, maddeningly, however, it would appear that it's not too soon for the incident to be turned into grist for the activist mills. The anti-gun crowd is already beginning to clamor about this being a reason to enact strict new gun control legislation. The pro-gun lobby is already launching countermeasures. You can read the papers, watch TV, surf the blogs, and already you can see the heat of the arguments ratcheting up.

Lost already are the human faces of those killed. Already seen not as people, not as lives cut short, but as political bargaining chips. Talking points. Banners under which to rally.

Stop it. Stop it, for the love of God. Your fellow citizens are dead. Murdered as they went about their daily affairs. Put aside your canned rhetoric and spin machines long enough to recognize what's happened and allow some dignity to attend the aftermath of this horror. Let the families and friends do their mourning, let the rest of us bow our heads in prayer or contemplation or just plain shock before you make this your latest grand crusade to change the world.

Decency compells us to allow nothing less. There will be a time for the debate, but that time is not now. For now, just remember and reflect.

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