It is a horrible tragedy and naturally our sympathy to the innocent civilians of the greatest spree killing in U.S. History.
But let's face it, as long as we continue to render the "well-regulated militia" clause of the Second Amendment meaningless; allow free expression under the First Amendment; and hold ourselves out as a place worshipping the gun-wielding avenger we're going to have spree killing. It's all our cultural zeitgeist at its most unfortunate expression (well, after invading third world countries because we need somebody's ass to kick). There are a lot of positive things about it, but this is definitely the part that sucks (and the part clearly inhaled by the perpetrator if, in fact, from China as recently as August 2006). The dark side of personal empowerment meets the industrial capacity of the "right to bear arms".
And what is more quintessentially American nowadays than Ernest T. Bass, ESQ, nominally a college professor, encouraging our nation's colleges to arm their students to the teeth? Our nation's binge-drinking repositories having drunks packing heat...WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?
However, let's get back to an even darker reality. Today's Iraq: THIS is what fear is, when it is realistically grafted to probability and experience, Baghdad April 16, 2007:
Um Noor (mother of Noor) is a sweet soul in a tiny frame, who used to come help me with household duties once a week, from 2000 until I went away in Feb, 2003.
I am ecstatic! I have been trying to find her ever since I came back; she is so energetic and so proud of her faultless work.
I open the door with a cry of welcome on my lips, and she comes in. She looks at me and bursts out crying.
And the story comes pouring out.
She was happily married for twenty years, when Iraq was occupied.
After a while strange, little used words start flying around.
Sunni … Shiite … Sunni … Shiite … Then fighting started breaking out because of this long submerged difference. In her neighborhood, as in the greater majority of Baghdad's neighborhoods, no one is really sure who on their bloc is Sunni, or Shiite; and nobody really cares.
Soon after, the IEDs and car bombs started taking their toll from people still bewildered as to: Why is this happening?
BOOM! She loses her husband, on his way to work, a Shiite.
Being a Sunni herself, she is urged - very strongly - to move away; their part of Amil is Shiite controlled.
Having nowhere to go, she stays.
A car stops in front of their home.
BANG, BANG, BANG! She loses her son (20), her brother, and nephew.
She takes her remaining children and flees, finding no haven - except in Abu Ghraib, (Sunni controlled) where she lives in perpetual fear lest her dark secret be uncovered: that her kids are – of course – Shiite.
Her two remaining sons (16 and 10) live imprisoned in their hut; she has buried all their IDs and tells everyone that they got lost …………and as a result they cannot receive rations.
They are starving to death.
And such is the intellectual bankruptcy that led to what we have done in Iraq, now rivaling the greatest tragedies in the history of Iraq (an ancient nation - some might say the ORIGINAL nation - which sadly has a rich history of tragedy, we're talking outdoing the "Mongols" and "Tamerlane" here). Forever a stain on our nation, but the consequences of which another nation has to suffer.
And now, we as a nation mourn the victims of Virginia Tech.
But as John Cole says...
...if this happened in Iraq, Powerline would be touting the stats as proof that the surge is working.
Maybe the lessen is to take the shock we feel and come to grips with the gift we've enabled in Iraq.
And before our right-wing Bush apologist "friends" (and there's a reason quote marks were invented) start saying "It's the terrorists that are doing this" it isn't my side that threw out the following:
Just before the invasion...
"They'll welcome us with flowers & sweets"
Just after the invasion...
"This is the FLYPAPER strategy"
I'd like to thank the ever shrinking 'Army of Kagans' for their never-ending sloganeering in the wake of mass slaughter.
Speaking of which...pathetic.