Since the shootings at Virginia Tech on Monday left 32 students and faculty members dead, this week the media has been involved in endless memorializing, including today, the 8th anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado. We’re hearing non-stop of hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not more) spent on showering the shooting sites, the graves as well as the hospital rooms of survivors, with flowers and teddy bears and mylar balloons. When it comes to 9/11, the candles alone sent in remembrance easily ran into the millions of dollars.
America is VERY well known for its passion for mourning and remembrances. But what we don’t do well – and seem to increasingly lose our ability to even consider – is to ask serious questions, perform serious inquiries into terrible events (not just tear-jerking sound and video bytes), and try to come up with and deploy potentially useful solutions.
Imagine for a moment if all the money spent on reporting, pretty “remembrances”, etc. after Columbine or the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma by Tim McVeigh had been used not for teddy bears and balloons but on mental health measures, serious changes in the availability of assault weapons, implementation of methods that make our country and its lawmakers make decent, sensible laws.
Don’t send money or flowers or teddy bears to the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre. Instead, if you want to do “something”, find a way to produce something useful for the living, for a better future America.