April 16, 2007


I am very sad about Kurt Vonnegut's death, & haven't really been able to find the words to write about it. I cannot believe what's just happened today, several dozen people gunned down on the Virginia Tech campus (not to mention the cow that died to make the gunman's jacket.) This is a terribly sad event which will dwarf discussions of all artist mortalities for a while. Many hundred people have already posted responses to the Times Lede blog, many very angry, with all sorts of political beliefs. I didn't want to enter into this discussion, but I couldn't believe how many people suggested that more students & professors should be armed to prevent against this kind of thing. More professors be armed!!?? Have you all lost your minds?

As for campus security, which many people seem to all of a sudden have tons of ideas about, this is surely not opening a floodgate of campus violence. More students will still die from binge drinking than lone gunmen. As for "freakanomics", which my father keeps telling me about, I like to bounce around this statistic: There are 3,000 Americans on Death Row (many of whom will not be executed); 3,000 people died in the September 11th bombings; there have been more than 3,000 American Deaths in Iraq since April 2004; and, for your comparison, there have been almost 250,000 American deaths from automobile accidents since the Iraq War. The point is that priorities and national anxieties rarely correspond with the numbers. In the next few weeks, this terrible shooting will be dragged up by everyone to talk about gun control, the Second Amendment (which was written in 1791, long before automatic weapons), violence from the entertainment industry, & campus security. But please, let's not turn our campuses into airports!

No comments: