Thursday, April 19, 2007

Raising Questions without Answers

Tomorrow, a few people in my community (as well as others all over the nation) are wearing maroon and orange, VA Tech's colors, to show support for the school and to mourn the victims.

I'll be one of them.

My school days are very fresh in my mind. Unpleasant as they occasionally were, I never experienced anything that even pretended to approach such an appalling tragedy. What is wrong with this world we live in, where a college kid can go to school and shoot upwards of thirty people...faculty, students, it didn't matter.

And yet...I have to wonder what the gunman was feeling. Obviously he was in dire need of mental health services, but past that, he must have been hurting. Crazy as he was, crazy as any school shooter is, they don't do things like that unless they're hurting. Who was hurting him? A girlfriend? A family member? A professor? What were they doing, and did they realize it at the time?

That's one of the annoyances that becomes apparent only when the tragedy fades out a little. There are so many questions that the world has, and the only people who could have answered them are dead.

But this just reaffirms something I've always believed: it is everyone's responsibility to stop things like this from happening. Someone knew that gunman was hurting, and they didn't do anything. Someone had an idea of what was coming (they had to), and they didn't stop it. Back when he was in high school, or middle school, someone probably had the opportunity to sit next to the weird Korean kid at lunch and make a friend. But you know what? They didn't.

And that's what leads to a time and place where thirty-three people are dead. Thirty-three people with so much potential will never see what they could have been. Thirty-three sets of parents have to bury their children. All because of some turning point that's already gone by.

That's why we can't afford to be absorbed in ourselves. There are people who need us, and if we're watching for it, maybe we can prevent this.

No one sits with him, he doesn’t fit in
But we feel like we do when we make fun of him
Cause you want to belong do you go along
Cause his pain is the price paid for you to belong
It’s not like we hate him or want him to die
But maybe he goes home and thinks suicide
Or he comes back to school with a gun at his side
And a kindness from you might have saved his life

No one talks to her, she feels so alone
She’s in too much pain to survive on her own
The hurt she can’t handle overflows to a knife
She writes on her arm, wants to give up her life
Each day she goes on is a day that she is brave,
Fighting the lie that giving up is the way,
Each moment of courage her own life she saves
When she throws out the pills a hero is made

No one talks to him about how he lives
He thinks that the choices he makes are just his
Doesn’t know he’s a leader with the way he behaves
And others will follow the choices he’s made
He lives on the edge, he’s old enough to decide
His brother who wants to be him is just nine
He can do what he wants because it’s his right
The choices he makes change a nine year old’s life

Heroes are made when you make a choice
You could be a hero
Heroes do what’s right
You could be a hero
You might save a life
You could be a hero, You could join the fight
For what’s right, for what’s right, for what’s right...

- Hero, by Superchick


ERiCA said...

You're right--the tragedy is for everyone. The victims and their families, including the gunman's family. These things are so horrible... I agree, prevention is up to all of us.

Robin Brande said...

Miri, what a thoughtful post. Thanks.