Virginia Tech Shooting in Context

Today, somebody took a gun to school and killed 31 people.

There isn’t a single thing right with that sentence. It happened, though. Lucky for me, nobody I know was involved, but I feel deeply sorry for anybody who was hurt, their families and friends.

I wanted to write something about what might drive somebody to do this, but I just have no clue. I can understand suicide, but randomly killing other people makes no sense whatsoever. So instead, I want to put today’s tragedy in perspective a little bit. When people say they’re going to put something “in perspective,” that usually means they’re going to make it seem not as bad as you think it is, and I guess I’m doing that. You’ve been warned.

Every day, over 100 people die in traffic accidents in the USA. That means today 100 people died in a traffic accident, and a third as many died in the Virginia Tech shooting. Tomorrow, we’ll be back to normal with 100 people dying in traffic accidents. On Wednesday another 100 people will die in traffic accidents. On Thursday another 100 will die in traffic accidents, and so on. When you look at it that way, the V.T. shooting isn’t terribly significant in the grand scheme of things. If you would have tried to prevent the V.T. shooting if you had the chance, then help prevent unnecessary traffic deaths. Drive safe.

In Iraq, events like the V.T. shooting are common. A quick search finds 2 mass killings in the past 10 days. 56 were killed on Saturday, and 17 were killed the Sunday before that. Because I live in the USA I am more affected by the V.T. shooting. I don’t know how I would feel if something like this would happen every week, and I don’t want to find out. I suspect Iraqis know what it feels like, though, and because the USA is currently in charge there I feel somewhat responsible for their loss. I hope the USA as a country can learn what such loss feels like from the V.T. shooting. Once everybody agrees that such senseless killing needs to be stopped, then maybe we can grow some backbone and do something about it.

About the author

Living the good life in Seattle, occasionally sharing something interesting with the Internet.