I asked a new friend for her thoughts on the horror at Virginia Tech. They are, as usual, worth reading. She is a teacher and this is what she wrote (unedited but with permission):
I picture my classroom – 27 little plaid skirted girls, thinking about Friday night, involved in the small and large dramas of being 16 and I want to break down. Those young people at Virginia Tech – their families – the school. Part of me says – why these 33 people? Why do they matter more than the dozens killed in similar rage-filled acts in Iraq or Palestine or where the addiction for rage results in terrible violence.
We – all of us – are addicted to pay back. To righteous punishment of the wicked. We – all of us – have enjoyed either the downfall of Clinton or of Bush. The SOB is finally gonna get what’s coming to him. it’s behind so much of what we do it is like white noise that we no longer notice at all. That’s the thing about the resurrection – no vengeance – just follow me. No white noise present around the Risen Christ.
When we can reach bottom on our need for violence – and I suspect it will have to be an even more violent act – our hearts might open. I look at Jesus on the crucifix – dying and in pain – I see that that is what a victim looks like. Not like a self righteous – you hurt my feelings or my sensibilities or said something really bad – victims of violence all look like jesus to me. perhaps it is because I cared for so many victims of gunshot wounds or knife wounds or domestic abuse in my nursing days – they all look like jesus on that cross. People enraged all look alike too – actually either without any emotion whatsoever or with an expression of rage and hate that is universal. To use this terrible act as a political football will be immoral. It will try to gather one set of righteous ones against another set of righteous ones. they will put on properly grieving expressions as they carefully choose words to blame one side or another.
The shooter – is almost irrelevant. He is gone. His rage is spent. Ours builds.
Colonel David Grossman is a military theorist and psychologist and has written books about this phenomenon of rage. I recommend them
But here we are. Again. How can it happen? Who are these children who were killed? Where are those who will grieve. And the NRA – in minutes puts out a statement saying that if students were allowed concealed weapons – this wouldn’t have happened. And then a group responds about the loosy goosey gun laws in Virginia. The horror is quickly taken over by political opportunity to make a point.
All I know is that 33 families are grieving, that an entire school is numbed. We are left contemplating the cross – what is its meaning? Paul says that everyting he ever needs to preach is in that image. Mystery, Sacrament, the connection of heaven and earth of pain and release. I guess I need to contemplate the cross tonight.
Thank you “Thinker”.