Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Wolf At Hokie's Door

All I can say about the Virginia Tech horror show is the event itself was not predictable, but the responses to it were. The Guns-Are-Entirely-To-Blame crowd made its voice heard; the Guns-Are-Not-To-Blame-At-All wing spoke up; the Hindsight-Obsessed-Why-Didn't-They-Stop-This-When-There-Were-So-Many-Warning-Signs clan (notice it's always "they" and never "we") entered the fray, too. It's all extremely sad and very tiresome because so much of it involves the desire to advance a political or social agenda and exploiting this tragedy for such a purpose.

Ours is a violent society. On a large scale, violence has worked out rather well for the country. From the American Revolution that won us our independence and the slavery-slaying Civil War to the idealized Old West and victories in two World Wars, our perception of violence as a method of conflict resolution is not altogether negative. Unlike some of our European allies--and rivals--we have never really been invaded, occupied, or bombed to pieces, unless you count the events during the War of 1812, when warfare was altogether different. Our body count in the two World Wars was substantial, but feeble compared to the losses suffered by France, Britain, Germany and Russia. This is not intended as justification for violent behavior or as condemnation of violence in all circumstanes, but merely an illustration of some of the differences between societies. And incidentally, if you think Europe is immune to violence, think again. The point is, there are no simple answers to society's ills in the United States or throughout the world, and anyone who thinks there are is probably deluded by the presumed rightness of his or her own ideals.

"During those conversations, to my knowledge, I did not make decisions about who should or should not be asked to resign."

The above sentence was part of a statement released by soon-to-be former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. To my knowledge? That's good. That's very good! And to think I considered it very amusing when a friend of mine said, after being asked if he still had a particular job, "I assume I quit." Maybe he wasn't so clumsy with the English language after all; he might merely have been preparing for political office.


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