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Wow, two fantastic pieces on the Virginia Tech shootings - Journal of Omnifarious

Oct. 10th, 2009

01:34 am - Wow, two fantastic pieces on the Virginia Tech shootings

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There are two articles that, in my opinion, give an excellent analysis of the Virginia Tech shootings.

The first is a scholarly piece by a professor of sociology that carefully dissects the situation and the blame spinning around it to raise some serious questions about exactly why the shootings happened:


Another piece is very literary and subjective. The authority this author speaks from is having been in a very similar situation to Seung-Hui Cho. His intelligence and wit make his viewpoint a very compelling one:

The Truth About the VT Shooting

In my opinion, the first author understates the frequency of mobbing. I experienced it in elementary school, and to a lesser extent in high school. I've also experienced it once, in a fairly mild form, on a job.

In this, it is very important that whenever someone seems to be 'out' with everybody, someone needs to make them 'in'. And by 'in' I don't mean taking it upon yourself to guide them into being orthodox. I mean really taking the time to be a part of their lives and see the world from their point of view.

The second author has a view of the world I sympathize with a great deal. It closely mirrors my own, though I feel more positively about people as individuals than he does. I find people individually to be flawed, but marvellous and wonderful. I find people as parts of large institutions or authority structures to be disturbing and horrible.

In getting through school a strategy I semi-consciously followed was to make sure that at least some of the teachers knew me as an individual. I worked as hard as I could to make the machinery of authority and control leave me alone because individuals would avoid making the choice to invoke it.

I now wonder how many people had experiences similar to mine.

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[User Picture]
Date:October 10th, 2009 10:22 pm (UTC)
That first piece was interesting and I really agreed with what it said. The second piece - I don't know. The VT English department distinctly seemed to have overreacted in that case and treated the writer poorly, but certain comments within the piece also makes me think there's another side to the story (such as "being fired for writing amusing and fictitious emails" - sounds to me like sexual harassment HELLO). And the guy comes off as very arrogant, and writes like a total asshole. *shrug*
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[User Picture]
Date:October 10th, 2009 11:13 pm (UTC)

*nod* I was wondering what 'amusing and fictitious emails' meant too. And I expect there is another side to the story. Though my mind first jumped to this: Why I Got Fired From Apple Computer.

As for arrogance... He does clearly think pretty highly of his ability to write. But the quality of the writing in his little piece tells me that his opinion of his own work is not totally unfounded. Though I don't think he thinks that he's especially better in any objective and global sense than anybody else though.

I actually read a surprising amount of gentleness and care into his feelings about others:

As a result the younger generation has a deeply cultivated, if quiet, notion of absurdity that grows in proportion to the inability of society to act in a balanced way, leaving decent young people alone and isolated, treasuring images of incredible and brutal violence as reflections of their own helpless situations.

That paragraph, for example... he isn't setting himself above anybody. It actually seems rather compassionate.

There is a math and science school, sustained by government research grants, and populated largely by students who have immigrated and were unable to get into a better school. The other school is a backwater. Peopled mainly by white kids brought in by a clean sweep of an area with a three-hundred mile radius, these kids ended up at Virginia Tech because their grades in high school were nominally better than those of their peers.

And this bit seems rather arrogant... but that situation actually exists in the University of MN. When I was going the divide wasn't nearly as pronounced as he makes it seems like it was at VT, but it was there. And, of course, he wasn't a math or science major, so he wasn't trying to pump himself up with what he said.

Edited at 2009-10-10 11:14 pm (UTC)
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