I’m sure you’ve all seen the video and other materials sent to NBC.

Open Letter to the Dylan Klebolds, Eric Harrisses (sp?), and Cho Seung-Huis of the World:

I’ll keep this short and sweet, as I have no desire to recreate your manifestos or your ramblings. Quite the opposite, actually, as what follows is a straight-forward bulleted list:

* I’m sure you convince yourselves that you look pretty bad-ass in the pictures you take before you do whatever it is you do, but in reality you look like nerds with guns. It’s not really “chilling” or “frightening” – just sad and pathetic.
* I’m sure you also convince yourselves that you have something very interesting to say or a ground-breaking statement to the world. But if letters and now videos are any indication? No, you really don’t.
* Gloves with no fingers are SO 1993.

FIN.

Good Lord.

I’m not nearly as offended by NBC airing clips of the video and showing some of the pictures sent as others are, and I think a big part of that is that I’ve come to expect it. The media has always been exploitative, and they’re exploiting you the moment they capture you on camera or ask you questions. Besides, it puts a human face on the one who committed the act, which is exactly what’s needed. Now we can stop wondering whether it was violent video games, or music, or teasing/bullying, or lax gun laws, or a violent society that led to what happened. It was just some dude who wasn’t as smart as he thought he was. It’s important to consider the emotional impact that airing these materials might have on those who knew the victims (particularly their families), but I personally think it’s equally as important that we don’t run away from what happened and treat it as the actions of some sort of invisible boogey man.

I kept hearing “we live in a violent society” all day today. Considering the fact that I’m hard pressed to remember the last time I personally witnessed an act of violence in person, I’d have to disagree. Oh sure, there’s violence that occurs every day in every city in every nation in the world, but to label our entire society as violent? That’s a bit much. Europe in the Middle Ages – now THERE was a violent society.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. April 19, 2007 at 3:44 am


    you really think they’re 1993? I really like to cut the fingers off the plastic gloves at work and walk around normally like that and OBVIOUSLY I’m ridiculously cool.

    • April 19, 2007 at 11:03 pm

      Yes, but you also dance with those gloves on. The moves you bust more than make up for your fashion faux pas.

  2. April 19, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    Why is it that every douchebag that decides to shoot some people up in a public place simply must make video of himself or take photos of himself? The jerk that shot up the mall did the very same thing. I wasn’t outraged since no one innocent died and the one person that was hurt badly kinda deserved it.

    Seriously, you’re an on duty soldier – yes, I know for recruiting but you’ve got to have some training – and when I guy starts shooting things up, you run away in a panic?

    Sorry, I still rant about that.

    I’m going to disagree with you. I’ve lost two loved ones to violent acts. I didn’t personally witness these acts, but none the less, two people I loved dearly were murdered. My sister was in a mall where a guy decided to shoot up the best buy, in the next store over working. I’ve personally been threated by bomb threats, along with the entire staff of my store, and the manager of another store, someone I knew by association, was told to get down on his knees and he was shot point blank in the head.

    Sorry, that’s a pretty violent world.

    • April 19, 2007 at 11:02 pm

      No offense, but the volume of instances you’ve encountered are pretty far out of the norm. The problem is that so much of this comes down to perception.

      As I said in response to another reply, to say we live in a “violent society” denotes that gross violence such as what occurred at Virginia Tech is pandemic and typical of our culture; so engrained in our daily lives that it’s overwhelming. But this isn’t the case – if it were, there wouldn’t be nearly as strong a reaction as there has been to what happened on Monday.

      For example – people will marry this incident and Columbine for obvious reasons (not all of which are unjustified either) and mention school shootings as a very common occurrence in the United States. However, as you and I both know, school shootings had been steadily decreasing before Columbine even happened. There were a couple years afterwards where it increased slightly, but nowhere near the levels of where it was in 1992, and it’s still decreasing. While this incident may provoke others, we’ll most likely see the same drop after a year or two. My point is that I feel if this were a society we could actually categorize as a “violent society”, something like school shootings wouldn’t decrease as dramatically as it has in the past 15 years – it would remain steady and/or show consistent increases.

      So again – could things be better? Absolutely, they always could be. However, I don’t think that the term “violent society” should be thrown around when what we experience in our day to day lives is nowhere near what others have experienced and currently experience in other nation-states, even if they’re developing or third-world nations. I don’t say that as a means of distraction from our own lives or to say that we don’t know how good we have it, just that a truly “violent society” would be the sort of thing where you’re constantly reminded of it without having to watch it on the news. It’s the idea of “we live in a violent society” versus “we could have a less violent society.” They’re not necessarily the same thing.

  3. April 19, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    The problem is that “we live in a violent society” is a shorthand way of saying something. We live in a society more prone to random acts of violence than most other first world societies. Hell, more prone to it than most other societies period. Also, society encompasses our culture and our ideology. The response of many people to this tragedy is “if only someone in the classroom had a gun this wouldn’t have happened.” Few other societies or cultures would look at this event and decide the problem is there weren’t enough guns around. But here that’s the reaction of a very sizeable chunk of the populace.

    Sure Europe in the Middle Ages was constantly at war, but that was pretty much a soldierly thing. If you were an average peasant who happened not to be in the way of one of the sporadic lurches of the 100 Years War you might live your entire life with the most violent act you hear about being a drunken brawl at the local ale house.

    In other parts of the world where violence is endemic (Iraq, Sudan, Somalia) the violence is somewhat institutionalized. You can point to the faction causing the violence, and theoretically if that faction was disarmed/eliminated/pacified the violence would stop. In America there is no such faction. That’s what makes it so scary, is the realization that anyone who crosses your path might turn out to me Crazy McShootemup.

    • April 19, 2007 at 10:49 pm

      Right, but hasn’t that always been the case? These people have always existed in one form or another. And as for pointing to random acts of violence – yes, we seem to have more, but with a lack of that institutionalized violence that you mentioned, isn’t that a given?

      Look, all I’m saying is that violence in the United States is bad, but it’s not nearly as bad or pandemic as people would have you believe. We’re pretty high up for per capita murders (24th behind only two first-world nations), but it all depends on what you look at and how you look at it. In terms of per capital manslaughters, for instance, we aren’t even a blip on the radar. What does that mean? I’m not sure, but there’s more crimes committed per capita in the United Kingdom, Finland, and Denmark than in the United States. So what does THAT mean? I’m not sure.

      What I mean when I say we don’t live in a “violent society” is that most of us don’t walk around exposed to violence in a one-on-one situation every single day, and the few that do reside in pockets. Could things be better? Sure, but we’re not in a situation where there’s so many murders that bodies are left on the streets for literally hours due to the overwhelming violence surrounding us (unlike Brazil and other nation-states).

      Is it fair to compare us to developing countries? Yes and no. No because obviously we have resources at our disposal not available to us, but when talking in the general sense of whether or not we live in a truly violent society as compared to the rest of the world, then I think it’s worth noting.

      Things can always be better. That doesn’t mean they’re worse than they actually are.

    • April 19, 2007 at 11:05 pm

      CORRECTION
      “No because obviously we have resources at our disposal not available to us

      SHOULD READ:
      “No because obviously we have resources at our disposal not available to them

  4. Anonymous
    April 20, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    Hows about an Open Letter to the bullies and taunters Of the Dylan Klebolds, Eric Harriss’s,

    Its all cause and effect. We should all keep that in mind when interacting with each other.

    • April 20, 2007 at 4:54 pm

      Re: Hows about an Open Letter to the bullies and taunters Of the Dylan Klebolds, Eric Harriss’s,

      Oh fucking WAH!

      I don’t care if some guys were super dicks to them, shooting up a school isn’t an “effect” of somebody calling you names. There was no legit and/or reasonable “cause” for what Klebold and Harris did, nor was there for what happened on Monday.

      Trust me, it isn’t the first time I’ve seen that argument, especially on the internet. However, after thinking it through for quite some time, I can’t come to any conclusion other than “suck it up, crybabies.” I personally knew people who were tormented pretty badly in Middle School and High School (on par and in some cases even worse than what Klebold and Harris went through), and the worst that happened was they were teased and tormented. Did it create some self-esteem issues and was it unwarranted? Yes and yes, but there’s ways to fix and work through that.

      It’s something that’s always happened in schools. Klebold and Harris didn’t do it because they were teased and bullied, they did it because they were two whacked-out egotistical pricks. Which MY GOD, perhaps that might have been part of the reason they were teased in the first place.

      • Anonymous
        April 22, 2007 at 10:36 am

        Re: Hows about an Open Letter to the bullies and taunters Of the Dylan Klebolds, Eric Harriss’s,

        Then what you propose is basically is a bully’s manifesto that will certainly be the catalyst for more homicidal backlash. I hope you are never one of those “Backlash”.

      • April 22, 2007 at 6:59 pm

        Re: Hows about an Open Letter to the bullies and taunters Of the Dylan Klebolds, Eric Harriss’s,

        Not at all, nor did I ever propose anything like that.

        I propose nothing except that kids don’t react to name-calling by going into a homicidal rage, because:
        1. It’s not worth it.
        2. It’s not anything that could ever be seen as a legitimate or acceptable reaction.
        3. There’s much worse that can happen to a person. There’s people who are legitimately abused, and yet a kid gets called names and pushed into a couple lockers he’s given cause to go on a rampage? Cry me a fucking river.
        4. It’s High School.

        I don’t know why I’m even bothering to respond. You’re absolutely ridiculous, and by posting anonymously I can only surmise that you’re trolling.

        If you ARE serious, listen – I know it’s nice to think that this is just the sort of “bully comeuppance” that would scare the life out of whomever might have tormenting you in High School. But if bullying wasn’t stopped by the Columbine incident, it’s certainly not going to be stopped by this or any other incident. Should it stop? Well, yes, but suck it up. That’s life – there are shitty people who occassionally do shitty things. You deal with adversity rising above it, not by shooting up a classroom of people and/or providing excuses for those who do. There’s always ways to fix low self-esteem.

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