Thursday, April 19, 2007

My Experience

The inevitable comparison has been made between the Virginia Tech shootings and Columbine.

I graduated high school the year Columbine occured. The obligatory copycat threat was made by our classes' resident bad boy, which only stirred up an already frightened administration and student body. The threat proved bogus, as I suspected. He was summarily expelled.

They did take the precaution of making us walk through metal detectors and I unzipped my cheaply made black robe to ensure that I wasn't carrying a concealed weapon. I suppose it made everyone feel safer.

Catastrophes like this happen and people search for answers. Again, I hope that no one makes a hasty, knee-jerk reaction that will only make things worse in the end. There is some sort of poision that I notice in my own generation--some kind of hate. I speculate it is that we have been exposed to so many images at so young an age. We've grown up with violent acts on television and in assorted media. We've been aware of sex at younger and younger ages.

Can we distinguish properly between fantasy and reality at such young ages?

Can the human mind truly process these things correctly? Is their some virtue to innocence? Studies have shown that the human brain does not finish developing until the early twenties and yet we are exposed to more images in a day than our grandparents and great-great parents experienced in a lifetime.

Take a look at television, for example. Notice that the pace of television has picked up considerably over the years. Instead of slow framing of shots and gradual pacing, we're subjected to jump cuts, rapid fire editing, and constant stimulation. No wonder our attention spans are not where they need to be. Has our technology evolved faster than we are capable of responding to it?

I pose only questions and I have no answers to them. I wish I did.


Z said...

Hey Kevin:

Well, I don't think that the images on television have anything to do with the price of gold in China on this one. Consider the millions upon millions of people who view these images as much as those few (in comparison) that do act out. And, consider the violence that took place before the advent of television. It may not seem like it was as prevalent then as it is now, but we didn't have the international media conglomerates, with the quick ability to send information in a matter seconds world wide that we do today either. So no, I do not think that what is shown on TV has anything to do with the violence.

However, I would say that our technology is advancing quicker than we can process it. We had cell phones with cameras before I learned to master my flip phone. :)

Maybe this is causing us, as a society, to process things more rapidly, which is causing us to loose sight of really important things. Maybe we need to learn to slow things down. Who knows?

If we as individuals conclude that this may be true, then we need to act accordingly as individuals and be the change that we want to see in society, in my humble opinion, of course.

Anonymous said...

the reason is this guy was batshit crazy and didn't have adequate help...the federal and state govts. failed him, his family failed him, but it was his own fault for pulling the trigger. The big picture is that he showed all these warning signs and no one cared enough to do anything about it. Our society wants to ignore mental illness and put it in the closet, sweep it under the rug, etc.
yes, he was very sick and disturbed and should have gotten help, but i lost sympathy for him when he butchered 32 people