Right To Life
By Julie Buntin
Ever since the Columbine High School shooting several years ago, parents and students haven’t felt quite as safe in schools. Institutions of education were once the holy grail of safety, forward growth, and freedom in the United States. During the last fifty years a handful of American students have illustrated their discontent with the status quo violently, on campuses and students, with increasingly tragic endings. The Virginia Tech massacre, which occurred yesterday morning, marks the bloodiest shooting rampage in this country’s history.
The world’s troubles are growing. The Virginia Tech shooting only reaffirms that already a well-known fact. As an American student myself, I understand this, and I face it everyday. We shall inherit the earth, but what earth have we been so lucky to inherit? I’m not saying Cho Seung-Hui had any remotely understandable reason for taking out his personal problems/lunacy/immense mental illness on 33 human beings. I am simply saying we live in a world where this can happen, did happen, and this horrific tragedy is also a part of a longer list of disturbing worldwide massacres, which may have been a factor in its evolution.
The horror of the shooting at Virginia Tech defies reason. Not only is it unfathomable, it should be impossible. This occurrence is so agonizing to stomach in part because of the difficulty of bridging that gap in logic. This is America and no matter how aberrant or depressed or insane someone truly is, gun control, campus security, and pure human compassion should make it impossible to reach this point of madness and destruction. When did people stop understanding the worth of a human life?
While scrolling down the list of victims in an online Fox News story, I was bombarded by a deep, cold sense of despair. Everyone on that list was here, on Sunday, cramming for a Biochem midterm or smoking a cigarette or brushing his or her hair in a steamy bathroom mirror. Each victim felt the night air, held things in their hands, laughed at their roommates from another room. And someone, someone not too different from all of them, a classmate even, believed he had the right to wrench their lives away.
All over the world there are individuals who believe they have some reason, some deep unalterable mission to destroy the lives of others. What about Cho Seung-Hui? Did he have a reason? Or this time, this senseless time, is it worse? Did he just reach a level so deep nothing could ever pull him out, did the shooting mean nothing to him, was it just something to do, something to break up the monotonous current of his life? Asking these questions is painful. The only thing more painful to contemplate in light of this tragedy is how much sheer human potential we lost in the thirty-three dead, and how much good they could have achieved on their inherited earth.