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  Now that things have cooled off a bit, I'd like to make a commentary about the Virginia Tech tragedy. I don't mourn, since I see death as such a common part of life. In fact, I think it's kind of odd when we spend tons of time mourning over certain deaths when others we simply brush off for whatever reason. Now, this presents two extremes, and I'd like to clearly delineate which of these I am on: rather than saying no one should mourne for anyone, I cannot justify mourning for one group when I didn't mourn for the others, such as the innocent people who on the same day were killed by drunk drivers or the soldiers who were killed in Iraq while there well past their campaign's end date.
  But, given that the world came together for the Virginia Tech tragedy and it has become something we can all relate to, I'd like to point out something which I found despicable. Repeatedly, people used this tragedy to justify personal agendas whether or not they were relevant. Several examples stood out to me.

  Jack Thompson Attacks Video Games I feel this one is excellent since he's already made such an ass of himself, he was so quick to blame video games for violent behavior before learning any facts, facts that proved that the killer owned NO GAMES. A tragedy happens, everyone reacts and asks what the government is going to do in response, and of course the one person advocating a plan of action since the beginning of time immediately says "see, my plan of action is and always was the solution!" Sickening.

  Atheism Is Weak In The Face of Tragedy Ok. First of all, if you didn't notice, PETA, WOW, MADD, Scientology, and a barage of other groups also weren't yapping their mouths, though you don't have a problem with that. As atheists aren't really a group, but instead individuals claiming to not be part of a group (with a few stand out individuals) I don't know who this writer expects to be hearing from. I can think of several reasons Atheists didn't make a scene: 1) Atheists are the least trusted individuals in America and know it, if you were just in a tragedy and someone you didn't trust came up to you and started saying things, I bet you'd be pissed. 2) Atheists have nothing to gain by making a public statement, the best I could see is individuals giving individual condolences to others, no big public statement. 3) In his article, he talks about how it's difficult to bring god into tragedy, but it's apparantly even harder to bring a lack of god into this tragedy. Though he seems to elect Dawkins as the leader of the atheists, I propose a different reason atheists don't respond - we understand that some people just suck and that some things that happen are bad, we don't need to shove it in anyone's face, it sucks and we're sad too but either you're an atheist and are taking condolences in individuals around you or are religious and are taking solace in your faith, neither of which has room for atheists. Just because we understand we're not invited to the party doesn't mean you should call us a loser for not showing up, especially since we know you're gonna throw drinks at us if we do.

  Satan May Be Here! I don't feel like analyzing this, it's just funny that apparantly it's elements of the Devil that caused it.

  I watched the coverage of the incident, and I noticed that on the first day, everyone blamed everyone for everything. Very few facts, tons of conjecture. The second day, everyone pointed fingers at each other's coverage. Finally, on the third day, facts became clear and the videos were released, another media frenzy day. On the fourth day, people used the facts to either confirm their immediate assumptions, or use the lack of facts to somehow prove they were right despite the lack of proof. Jon Stewart criticized Bill O'Rielly's coverage, who criticized Howard Stern's coverage, who criticized Dr. Phil's coverage, who criticized Jon Stewart's coverage! My head is spinning! People, in the days after this tragedy, I heard lots of potential leaps into action, one that notably frightened me: the suggestion of retracting laws allowing resident aliens to own guns. First of all, an in place law in VA prevents individuals who have been involuntarily committed from owning firearms, proving how effective the gun control laws were in helping this case. (BTW, just to be clear, I'm against gun ownership personally, I wish no one had them, but I have to respect people's rights to own them, I think they're harmful but then again so are sodas and glue and cars, I don't like the government telling citizens how to live) Second, the Columbine kids were white male citizens, clearly demographics are not reasons to change laws. There's a good sumamry article for all this here.

  I have been accused of making premature opinions and never changing my views, but conservative presidential candidate Ron Paul made an awesome observation on the reactions to this tragedy. I don't agree with his "more guns less crime" attitude, but I think he's spot on in being cautious of removing citizen's freedoms as a response to one incident. And he says it in a terriffic way, I'm not gonna vote for him but you should listen to him. Benjamin Franklin, who I consider to be one of the greatest Americans in history, profoundly said "Those who would give up a little freedom to get a little security shall soon have neither." The reactionary attitude of people enable the government to take away freedoms, not protect them.
I've said it before, is our being in Iraq or Iran or Afghanistan really stopping us from losing freedoms? Or is it a futile effort to prepare for every contingency when in fact it has resulted in a dramatic step towards a fascist system?

  I understand why people are reacting the way they are to this tragedy; if we can find a single cause, then we can create a prescriptive solution to the cause and prevent this from happening again. But let's be honest, there is no single cause, this kid probably got picked on in school and internalized, was probably pushed to succeed by his parents but when in the real world didn't succeed and became depressed, he probably got ideas for violent imagery from not just video games and movies and song lyrics but also tv (news, this kid grew up during Desert Storm and Kosovo) and newspapers and everything, he probably had early exposure to weapons not just through media but possibly through his parents and just the public (ever see a big neon sign for "gun show?"). Point is, there's no cause, there's a million factors that build the individual and we can either take ALL of them away or none of them away, and I certainly don't think it's worth it to take all of those away for a little security. Statistically, something like that is going to happen every once in a while and it's very sad, but remember, if it never made it to the news then there wouldn't be any glorification or copy cats. He said it himself, he sent those videos to NBC so his message could be heard, and he was damn successful and anyone else who wants to be heard now knows that is a viable method to be heard. I truly believe incidents like that should not make the news because it prevents copy cats, takes real violent images off the television, and because it doesn't allow people to have peace on their own. At the very least, there should be a delay. Additionally, it's irresponsible to promote these stories just to promote a personal agenda. I don't believe this should be a law, I simply think a responsible media would adopt some sense of self-restraint instead of the frenzy attitude that presently exists. It is the fine line between news and tabloid, one that is increasingly disappearing.

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