Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech "Family": Victims Twice Over

As yet another senseless act of mass gun violence passes in the United States, the established symbolic behaviors remain unchanged.

Have you observed the following?

The Patriotism At Play

George W. Bushler's ridiculous appearance at the memorial service for the Virginia Tech victims was undoubtedly another standing-on-top-of-the-9/11-rubble charade. It was a chance for him to be seen as a leader at a time when most Americans are gradually though hesitatingly recognizing him as a terrorizer.

The use of a military spectacle, the playing of the national anthem, even the uniforms many of the audience were wearing -- the Virginia Tech sweatshirts and colors -- all served to "unite" the people, as they believe.

But the real purpose was to somehow belittle the fact that the university is comprised of many nationalities, many religions, and many backgrounds. Even more blatantly, this was an American ceremony to denounce a killer who was, in any case, not an American.

The Unwillingness to Question Authority

In the news coverage that has ensued, with the exception of a brave and intelligent young woman, Erin Sheehan who was one of only 4 people in her classroom to walk out uninjured after the attacks, none of the students interviewed were showing any concern or anger about the very obvious mishandling of this situation yesterday.

Nobody was willing to admit, as Sheehan did, that the authorities made a mistake and should have and could have done a much more effective job of warning as many people as possible immediately that there was a danger on campus.

Even at the memorial service, no one took the opportunity of having Bushler in the audience, to sneak at least a tiny jab at a violent overlord whose aggression, hostility, bigotry, and yes, violence, overshadows these horrific school shootings that have now become commonplace in the U.S.

Victims Twice Over

Ultimately, the political performances at the memorial and in the press -- including the ridiculous speech by Virginia Governor Kaine who will soon no doubt seek Giuliani-like political extension of what in his mind was the good fortune of being the leader of the place that a terrible incident occurred -- and the clear though indirect message to all of the victims, witnesses, families and everyone to shut up and stick together as the "Virginia Tech Family" during this terrible time -- all of this just victimizes these innocent people even more.

"Families" are supposed to be able to argue, to question things, to feel comfortable expressing themselves. This "family" rhetoric is just that -- not a genuine attempt to make the best of a horrible situation, but a disingenuous effort to stop people from recognizing and uttering truths, criticisms and concerns.

Unless more people from the "Family" have the courage to stand up and change this terrible American way of dealing with problems, then these problems will become worse -- as evidenced by the increased number of regular school and public place shootings across the U.S.

Labels: ,