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Friday, February 15, 2008

Gather 'Round My Soapbox

I'm sure most people have heard about the recent school shooting at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, Illinois. It was especially startling news for me to hear last night, because I attended NIU for a brief time before moving to Tennessee. I am originally from the Chicago area. My sisters graduated from NIU, friends of mine have attended the university, and my brother-in-law is currently a student there (he was not on campus the day of the shooting).

But I am not distraught simply over the fact that a shooting has happened at a location I used to frequent. I am distraught over how common these shooting rampages have become in our country. Did you know that there have been four (at least) school shootings this week in this country? Four! In one week! And it's not just happening in our schools. It's happening at our malls, and at our churches... Why???

There don't appear to be any easy answers or explanations for why these tragedies keep happening. But it seems that random, shooting rampages have sadly become a sign of the times.

I heard a psychologist on the Today Show this morning being asked about the possible motives of the NIU shooter, and she began talking about this generation's addiction to fame. She encouraged the media to stop giving so much news coverage to these suicide shooters. And I whole-heartedly agree with her. In fact, my husband and I had been discussing the very same thing last night.

I remember feeling unbelievably frustrated when the Virginia Tech shooting happened and NBC aired the video that the shooter had recorded of himself previous to the shooting. I don't understand how anybody with a shred of humanity could justify airing that video. It really made me feel physically sick to hear about that (I never watched the video myself).

I understand that we all have a natural curiosity to know want to know what kind of a person could do these horrible things. I really do get that. But if not knowing could potentially save lives in the future, I would much rather not know. Wouldn't you? I don't want to know the shooter's name. I don't want to see their photo. I don't want to hear anything about them. Instead of immortalizing a killer, how about we sensationalize the humanity that arose out of the situation from the victims and survivors?

I have sent a letter to the major news networks (MSNBC, FOX, ABC, CNN. Did I forget any?) encouraging them to limit their coverage of these kinds of shooters. I let them know that as a news viewer/reader/listener, this is not something I desire to know about. Will it make a difference? Maybe... Maybe not. But it's at least one small way I can make a stand in helping to prevent future violence of this kind. If you feel the same way I do, I STRONGLY encourage you to do the same thing.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Letting our voices be heard is so critical isn't it?? This stuff breaks my heart beyond what I can really say.

Thanks for sharing.

Susan