Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bad Things Happen

I feel the same way about the Virginia Tech massacre that everyone else probably does: It's a horrible, heinous, senseless tragedy. The thought of what the parents of the murdered kids must be going through is horrifying to me as parent. We send our kids off to college with the hope of helping them to build a future... the idea that their lives might end there couldn't be more disparate.

With that said, I find myself annoyed -- angered, even -- at what has turned into a non-stop festival of media coverage. As the days go by, the news pimps seem to find yet another angle to cover. Another story to exploit. Another private moment to display. Another policy to question. We have become a country with an endless appetite for voyeurism and a taste for endless debate.

I understand people's preoccupation with the blame game in these instances but, statistically, reactive positions on gun control, campus security, and zero tolerance policies aren't going to make us safer against unknown future threats. They're just going to be overly restrictive and difficult to enforce. Short of living in a hermetically sealed vault, we're going to have to admit to ourselves that we can't anticipate and resolve every threat we'll ever face.

The sad truth is that sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes people go crazy and do bad things. A sniper takes out ten random people in Washington DC. A woman drowns her four young children in a bathtub. A pair of teens kill 12 students and a teacher at a high school in Colorado. The reality is we can't predict these things and we can't control the outcome. We're an aggressive, forward thinking people so it's difficult to accept our powerlessness in these kinds of situations but, really, about the best we can do is hope fate doesn't land us in one.

Another reason to seize the day, I guess.

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