Okay, so let me begin this whole blog by openly stating that I’m not a bleeding heart concernee for what happens in the world outside of my own involvement. I’m no Nationalist, you won’t see me waving a flag, visiting national monuments, and most of the time I drift off in my mind when hearing the National Anthem. If something happens on the other side of town, and it didn’t and won’t affect me in any way, it will grasp my attention long enough to hear about it, and is soon replaced by the bigger inquiry in my head as to what I’ll eat for dinner that night or which Family Guy episode will be on Adult Swim that night. Why? Because I’m real. I don’t put on the sympathetic mask when some tragedy happens or push my involvement when the media goes crazy over a story. I’m not Russell Simmons, I’m not Jesse Jackson. I’m me. Sure, this will make some people question my loyalty as a friend or “decent” human being, but really, why should it? Because the things I refuse to do are the things you are wrapped up in? Because the public appearance you carry around you means less to me than the personal appearance I carry myself? What is it about events “close to home” that strike interest in people, moreso than tragedies overseas? Why does an asian kid going Terminator on a predominantly white college in the hills suddenly tug at people’s heartstrings? Were you there? Did you know anyone who was injured or killed? I wasn’t. So I don’t care. Sure, it sucked that it happened, but was that the only bad thing that we could focus on that day and the week that followed?
I’m sure that most people will think of me as uncaring, as heartless and cold. I guess that’s because I don’t give a shit about something that happened to a bunch of people I don’t know. But not you. No, you’re celebrating you Wear-All-Black-On-Monday-To-Mourn-Virginia-Tech faux-holiday. You’re joining and idly sitting in your Myspace and Facebook “So-and-So Supports VT” groups. You’re buying wristbands and T-shirts and making little website layouts to proclaim to the world “PAY ATTENTION, IT LOOKS LIKE I GIVE A DAMN!” It’s cute, in a mildly high-schoolish kind of way. Oh, but come now, Greg, surely you can’t be that disconcerned about what happened. Yes I can. And you know why? Because distance doesn’t make things less tragic. Whether 100 people die in the city I live in, or 1 person dies in Bahrain, death is still death, murder still murder, tragedy still tragedy. From a few days before the VT Gun Show Extraordinaire to a day after, a whole 4 days mind you, the following headlines graced such sites as Yahoo! News, MSNBC, CNN.com, and Reuters. Tell me how many bracelets or clubs you created for them:
– A least 65 killed, 85 injured in Shiite Kerbala as massive car bomb also targets second major Baghdad bridge early Saturday (150 total)
— At least 15 killed in Kenya bus crash, 61 injured
— 33 Killed in School Bus Crash in Turkey; 15 students; 30 injured
— 12 Nigerian POLICE killed in Police Station attack
— 40 Afghan CIVILIANS killed or wounded by U.S. Marines
— Rebels kill 74 in Ethiopia oil field raid (including the quote “The bandits entered the camp around 5am and shot dead the 74 people while they were sleeping.”)
— 85 killed or found dead across Iraq, some dumped on the roads (this was all one day)
— 25 killed in Juarez bus crash, including 10 babies and children under the age of 13
So? Where were you for those? How many of you, in total honesty with yourselves, can answer even silently, that you heard about one of those, nonetheless 2-3, or all of them? Did you buy a Kenyan bracelet to show remembrance? What about an Iraqi or Turkish shirt to let your coworkers and classmates know you were sympathetic? Or the “Our Soldiers Shoot At Anything That Moves” background for all your website visitors to see and appreciate? No? Didn’t think so. So why Virginia Tech? Because some loner guy went nuts and killed people, young college people, so it’s sad, right? But babies burning and suffocating on a flaming bus is dandy? Almost four-score of people going to bed one night and getting bullets laced through their skulls during nap-time is permissible? Over 170 people killed or injured in only THREE bus crashes (all within 2 days of one another) doesn’t deserve your attention? Of course not. We’re Americans. We’re all about US. There’s a simple reason the United States is shortened to U.S.: without the periods, it shows who we are most concerned about. Your little third-world country can murder itself (Rwanda, anyone?), but oh-no, JonBenet had a cute video and was murdered, so let’s talk about that for the next decade instead. Do we just look at Africa, read a story about destruction or crime or murder, slap our knees and say, “oh….those guys……crazy guys, you!”? Let’s continue to overlook that we invade and takeover someone else’s land and country, then praise our poor, poor troops over there serving their difficult voluntary duties, only to overlook the fact that at least 10 civilians are killed daily. Let’s ignore that there have been about 9 times as many Iraqi civilians killed as there have been U.S. soldiers.
(To be continued in next blog)