...when I get ticked off about something, and it's in my cross hairs, I'll go after it like a bulldog until it's dead. I don't mean people, I mean *things*.
Things like the media. Especially after yesterday. Yup, I'm about to pick on the media. Actually, I'm about to pick on a specific individual in the media who I've finally decided is a moron.
Yesterday was a tragic day in the United States, in the world. A peaceful oasis of a college university campus was shattered when a lone gunman shot a couple of people, disappeared for a couple of hours, and then chained himself into a classroom building and started shooting people one by one before killing himself.
The smartest thing he did that day was shoot himself. Unfortunately he did that *after* he killed a whole bunch of people. If only he'd decided to shoot himself first. Then we'd have a whole different ballgame right now.
I was up last night frogging some stitches in something, and switched over to watching NBC who had already set up a very special Dateline NBC entitled "Massacre at Virginia Tech" with the appropriate important sounding special report music that gets your attention when something bad has happened. I watched on-campus EMTs talking about how they responded to the separate situations. I watched the run-down of what happened.
And then I watched Matt Lauer pontificate. He was there at the campus because they were going to broadcast the Today Show from Virginia tomorrow. He walked into all sorts of spots on the campus he said. It's only about a 5 or 6 minute walk from the dorm where the first incident happened to the engineering building where then final shootings took place he said. There's a dining hall across the way from the dorm where he saw 40 or 50 people getting food and eating as if nothing had happened.
As if they didn't know about it, or it hadn't registered with them yet, he said. I immediately thought that they were in shock and people have to eat. Some folks normalize things when tragedy happens around them I thought. But Mr. Lauer opened his big mouth and ruined all that and pissed me off. He said this was historic.
Excuse me? I froze, I dropped the needle I was holding to pick out stitches (don't worry DH, I found it again) and stared at the television at the blazing moron on the screen who was talking about this as if it were a milestone in US History. All my irritation about NBC already having a "very special Dateline" vanished and redirected to Matt Lauer. Yes, he's the moron.
How dare he? Historic? No, this isn't historic. Yes, it will be a piece of history, but it's a tragedy. It's not historic. I doubt anyone called the shootings at Columbine historic. Or the assassination of John F. Kennedy. They were both tragedies on a very high level and yes, they are a sad part of history, but I wouldn't embolden oneself to call it historic. I seriously doubt that anyone that lost a child, a sibling, a friend, a romantic interest or a roommate yesterday will call this historic.
Historic is the sort of word that you apply to the very first launch of the Space Shuttle. To walking on the moon. To things that are great for the people and should be remembered proudly. We should not be proudly remembering the day someone went and orchestrated the biggest loss of life via shooting on a school campus. That is clearly not historic.
I know some of you are going to be pulling out dictionaries and want to start debating with me on this. The definition of historic, according to dictionary.com (which cites multiple sources for definitions) is this: well-known, or important, in history. From that point of view, then yes, this is historic because it will be well-known. But I'd rather live with my rose-colored glasses on and use the word historic for things that deserve honor and recognition in history and not the things that were tragic and senseless. The Civil War was historic, this was senseless violence.
The Today Show website already has a poll on it's front page about how this can be prevented, and the three choices involve more gun control, better security/communication on campus, or that it can't because this is the price of living in the modern world. What kind of choices are those? Where's the choice about violent television and video games leading to this, or is that choice only reserved for when this happens in high schools with impressionable teenagers committing the crimes? Did Lauer pick these choices out himself, or was it the person who told him to use the word historic?
Would better gun control really have stopped yesterday from happening? No. If it wasn't guns, it would have been explosives, or something else. Would better security and communication on campus have helped since it took almost two hours to inform over 26,000 people that this had happened? I'd say two hours is pretty darn good for that many people, considering that I lived on an idyllic campus of 28 acres that had 2,600 students total, and two hours to inform everyone of something was the norm. I doubt you could prevent this unless you want to start searching every single person who comes on campus and x-raying all packages that get mailed in. Is this the price of the modern world? I certainly hope not.
Yesterday didn't happen because we don't have enough regulations on guns, it didn't happen because this is what the world came to. It happened because a 23 year old English major snapped and made a decision to start shooting people for reasons as yet unknown to the world. And no one is sure that there wasn't a second individual involved in this either. But whatever the reason what happened yesterday, in what's being called the worst shooting incident in the United States, it was a tragedy....
...and history, yes, but certainly not historic.
My heart and my prayers goes out to everyone personally touched by this tragedy.