Wednesday, April 18, 2007

We are responsible

How do you begin to make sense of the Virginia shootings? (Or perhaps there simply is no sense to be made -- ) When the Columbine shootings happened, the shooters were analyzed for months in the media, and it was full of shoulda-coulda-wouldas and Monday morning quarterbacks and recriminations and accusations.

It's happening again.

Everyone who taught or attended classes with Cho will come under scrutiny by the blamers. Everyone who ever sold him anything will be at fault somehow. It's got to be SOMEone's fault that he did this, doesn't it? Someone could have done SOMEthing to have prevented it or recognized that he was troubled or locked him up or something. It's somebody's fault, somewhere.

Except it's not. At least not in the ways that are being suggested.

The world is not a fair place to be. We do not all have equal opportunity, equal wealth, equal health, equal anything. Poverty exists. Mental illness exists. Evil exists. As does good.

There are many programs and watchdogs already in place to keep an eye out for the standouts on either end of the "normal" spectrum when a child enters agencies such as day care and school -- both for the gifted and the troubled individuals. And then there are the millions in the middle, the ones who may lurk at the edges, not quite noticed enough.

Most of these kids muddle through without major incident as part of the masses. What we forget is that something as simple as a teacher taking a little time to compliment a student, or to ask a kind question can turn a life around. Similarly, an unjust act or ignoring even a small plea for help can also turn a life around.

In that respect, we are all responsible. We forget every single day that a kind word or action, a cruelty or failure to acknowledge someone can forever change everything for an individual.
to be continued...

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