As news began trickling in about the shootings on the Virginia Tech campus yesterday morning, I was most shocked not by the tragedy itself but by the fact that I cared so little about it.
I’m not comfortable about how used I have become to violent death. Yesterday I was talking to my friend, who lived through 9/11 , and we began to discuss things like the spate of suicides that broke out on the NYU campus in Fall of 2003, 9/11, Columbine, etc. I was telling her about the grief counseling sessions that were made mandatory in the dorms post-9/11 and after the suicides in Bobst.
“Are you upset about this incident?” she asked me, referring to VATech.
“Not really,” I confessed. “It feels like just another day, another group of people.”
“I have a number,” she said. “If its more than 100 then I feel it’s fucked up.”
“I don’t have a number,” I replied. “But I do have a quality issue – it becomes a question of how people died. Rape, torture, hacking off limbs…”
It upsets me for days on end when I read about the tactics carried out by African militias, Middle Eastern terrorists, South Asian naxalites, Indian police and yes, American soldiers. But death itself? Oddly enough, the last time I was seriously affected by death by God’s will, it was a numbers issue – the tsunami of 2004.
VATech has brought up the same issues all over again. Is it a gun control problem and do we need to repeal the Second Amendment? Is it reflective of American society? Is it a reason we haven’t thought of yet, but will surely discover once we understand why it happened this time?
I have no answers. But I hope somebody will hit upon them sooner rather than later. Please visit CNN.com for more updates. This story isn’t going to be done for a long time.
Update – Indian Professor Loganathan amongst those killed. Source
Update II – More details from Glosslip
Update IV – Indian student amongst those slain. Source
Update V – No suicide note but his writing was “macabre”. Source