Wednesday, April 18, 2007
I've seen comments on the internet lately about how people can grieve for the VT students that they've never met, and yet when twice as many people or more die in Iraq every day, somehow our grief is lost there. I don't think the deaths in Iraq, on the base of it all, are any less tragic. I think that the difference is that the students at Virginia Tech are more tangible. People who die in Iraq every day, they're people, but in the news they're just a number. Most times unless it's someone famous, a political figure or something, there's never a name. Never a picture. But the students and professors that were killed on Monday, we know their names, we know their faces. They were real people with friends and majors and hometowns and myspace pages. We read about their lives, we see them permanently captured in ones and zeros on the internet. We can't picture Iraq, but we've been in West AJ and in Norris and on the drill field and walked down the streets where the ambulances were parked. Is it wrong to place our grief in one place and not another? Perhaps. but I think it's our saving grace. If we were that close to tragedy, if it was that personalized and real for us every day, I don't believe we would be able to function as human beings.