Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Land of dreams??????

  • Gunman slaughters more than 30

  • More than 30 people were killed Monday in a shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, according to university officials -- making it the deadliest school shooting incident in U.S. history. Virginia Tech President Charles Steger called the killings "a tragedy of monumental proportions."

  • Gunman identified as Cho Seung-hui, a 23-year-old English major from South Korea.

  • Ballistics tests show one of the guns found was used in the dorm and classroom building shootings

Taken from CNN.

Land of dreams, land of opportunities, became a land of tragedy yesterday for so many students. The main question on most of the people's minds is "Why?". Why does a young student want to kill same-aged students? Why? Why so much rage? Why make innocents the victims of this rage?

It seems it all started yesterday April 16th 2007 morning at about 7:15 AM when police recieved a call about 2 shootings at the West Ambler Johnston Hall at Virginia Tech University. They barricaded that hall, but based on the initial information decided that it was something related to domestic shooting. Hence the campus wasn't closed and the students weren't informed, so that campus life could go on as normal. But later at 9:15 AM, again shootings were heard at Norris Hall (the engineering department). Police stormed in to discover the shooter had shot many students (31 of them died, others have multiple injuries) and himself in the end. Though there have been shootings at schools in the past, this is the bloodiest and highest in body count.

It seems there wasn't a shooting victim that didn't have less than three bullet wounds in them. God!! I still don't understand the rage that could have caused such a terrible tragedy. I mean, how can anyone do such a thing! I don't "get" it!

Imagine the situation of the parents. The victims were all mostly young students (some were professors), dreaming so many dreams for the future and building the required foundation for a wonderful life. Its always difficult when a young life is taken. Not that the old aren't important. But the young people hadn't even "lived" their lives. Two people, one a professor and the other a student of Indian origin passed away in this incident (yesterday according to an Indian newspaper, no Indians died and hence this is an update..). Its even more difficult for the parents of international students. First of all, most of these students are on financial aid, so their parents may not be that strong financially. Moreover there are hassles of visa. Though there is an emergency visa available, imagine going to the consulate for visa stamping at a time when your child is dead on the other side of the world!All in all what a waste of lives!

The media, as usual, is having a field day! They are interviewing students, police and have even brought in their security analysts to "analyse" the situation. They are also repeatedly playing videos of the campus and interivewing family members of the victims again and again! The Don Imus racial slur controversy, the Anna Nicole's baby's father identity and the Iraq war tragedy, that were overwhelmingly overpoweringly present all over the TV just 2 days ago, are not to be seen at all now. Just shows how the media use a tragedy to increase their own ratings. Its outrageous! I'm sure next they'll interview a pschychologist to determine the mind-state of the killer, some other University president who'll probably talk about what they are doing to protect the students, another police superintendent for tips on how to protect yourself if a killer is out in the hall and so on. Heck! They'll probably even get a gun specialist to show how easy it is to buy and use a gun, in the process influence other young future killers! They'll milk it for all its worth and I'm sort of disgusted with the whole thing right now.

This is not the first time a shooting has happened in the school. In this particular case, the shooter was a South Korean. But there have been other cases where twelve students and a teacher were killed because of 2 American teenagers shooting them (Columbine High School Massacre, Colorado). There was even another story where a 12-year old kid shot another 12-year old friend accidentally! Why are the guns so "accessible"?? Why the heck? How can a young 12-year old get his/her hands on a gun and even know how to operate it??? Aren't the parents looking at what their kids are doing? Or are the kids so sneaky that they are fooling their parents into thinking that they are innocent??

I don't understand it. The government schools here are the best, providing all sorts of facilities to the kids (unlike the Indian government schools which are practically sheds). Free education is given to kids until the age of 16. Free transportation is provided in the form of buses. There are even road rules around these buses to protect the kids from traffic hazards. The private schools are strictly for the elite rich. Despite all sort of convenience, why do the children move towards drugs and violence? Is it a case of too much good? There are children struggling to come up in other parts of the world, but here, though they have everything, why do they get into all things "bad"??

Few years ago there was a huggge rise in number of deaths of kids due to Choking game. The game involves strangling one self to induce near unconsciousness by restriction of the supply of oxygen to the brain. The instructions (a step-by-step guide) for this particular dangerous game were freely available on the internet in non-child-restricted websites. The worse thing was that the parents were clueless about this particular game while it was a "hot" new trend at schools. It seems it gives a "high" like a drug. The parents usually found out about it only when their children ended up dead (most of the times this was thought to be suicide!!). Whats a parent to do in such a case? Again the children have everything here, yet it seems 250 to 1,000 young people die in the United States each year playing some variant of this choking game! Crazy, I tell you!

Recently there was another report of a 17 year old boy not only smoking pot (marijuana) himself, but giving it to his 2- year old and 5-year old nephews to smoke too. A 2 year old smoking pot!! Whats the world coming to? The little boys weren't even aware of what they were doing, but shouldn't a 17-year old know what the effects of smoking, moreover smoking marijuana are? The guy was not only guilty of handing it out to the little boys, but of taking a video of this for his obvious enjoyment! The young children were literally staggering due to the drug effects!

Also, there have been cases of child molesting by priests, how more horrible can it get? A man who you trust with the kids might be the one who ends up harming them, scarring them for life! If even a God's place like a church isn't safe then what place is? If a protector becomes a predator, whats a child to do? Whats a parent to do?

Land of dreams eh? Looke like its certainly not for the children! No place in the world is probably safe for kids, but this is literally scary! How can parents not be worried about their children in this kind of environment? Not that it happens everywhere in US, but the instances are so many, that its frightening. Even if you trust your child enough that he/she will not get involved with drugs and the choking game, whats the guarantee that he/she will not be shot by a classmate? Obviously all students cannot be made to wear bullet proof vests or the campus security can't be so serious as to check all the students for guns daily (well, maybe it will be after such a "massacre" as they are calling it). Yes, there have to be changes brought in terms of gun accessibility. Yes, there has to be education provided to the children on ill-effects of such trends.

Meanwhile, I guess all parents can do is to do their best to inform children of all hazards and leave the rest to fate and God..


Smi retorted...

I wonder how many more bloody shootouts it's gonna take before the govt. realises the repercussions of making guns as accessible as they are today in America!
And for the record, there were two Indian lives snuffed out in the entire episode - Minal Panchal, a 26 year old envt. engineering student and Prof. GV Loganathan, a 51 year old faculty member of the Civil Engg. dept.

Deeps retorted...

Smi, Oh God! I really didn't know that. I had read in some Indian newspaper that no Indian students were harmed when I wrote the post! I have updated my post. I really can't believe how a 10-12 year old can have access to a gun! Its not a play gun, damn it!

Usha retorted...

A correction the shooter is not a 10-12 year old.
The shooter was identified as 23-year-old Cho Seung-hui.
See Wikipedia

Deeps retorted...

Usha, the 12-year old I mentioned was in another old shooting. I have mentioned that 23-year-old Cho Seung-hui above in Italics was responsible for this Virginia Tech massacre.

accidental diva retorted...

seriously..after the whole columbine school shooting incident, USA should have learnt their lesson n got some gun control act into place...
this was such an avoidable situation...but guess sometimes no matter what anyone does, things just really is very depressing.

Smi retorted...

Rightly said about the agonizing experience of having to go thru the cumbersome visa procedures at such a grievous moment.
I read somewhere that the prof's parents don't even have passports yet, but thankfully the govts of both nations have promised that this will not be an impediment to their travel.
That's the least they can do!

Deeps retorted...

Dee, Yeah the Columbine School Massacre was what I was looking for. Mentioned that too in the post. I was literally feeling down for 2 days, though I didn't know any of the students personally..

Smi, I heard that about the prof's parents too. Good that atleast in such a situation the governments are "trying" to be "thoughtful".

Chitra retorted...

Having everything from the start may actually be the cause for the kids turning towards everything bad. They do need to focus on something at a young age, and as parents we have a huge responsibility of steering them in the right direction. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to happen in a lot of cases. The American kids do have access to a lot of things that I wouldn't dare my kids have access to. You have got to be grounded and somehow I feel India gives that. Things are very different here these days, but it is still not as bad. I have got to be posting about raising kids here vs raising them there one of these days.

Samahitha retorted...

I think the main reason is the way the kids are raised here in the US. They get everything from the begining and parents are under the fear that the kid is going to call 911 for anything and everything. So, kids are never under the control of their parents.

Also, they are rich...they have access to all kinds of 'drugs'. Problems of 'things' being super affordable!

It's a real pity that those innocent kids are sent out of this world at this age.

Orchid retorted...

but to me the saddest part is that these lives were lost in vain...i mean even goign forward is anything going to be done, can anything be done..i guess not unless you start getting paranoid and commit anyone with even the least suspicion to a mental institution, the media and everyone can discuss all they want,...but things are not going to be very different and that to me is the sad and scary part. God bless the victims.

Deeps retorted...

Samahitha, hmmm maybe. But there is another side to the coin. Not all kids are like that, so whats the differentiation factor?

Orchid, thats one of their craziest ideas. How do they know who's mental? What if a guy who talks decent, never has acted insane, goes on a rampage like this? Gun control is the one they should enforce..

Samahitha retorted...

It all comes down to the rule of majority. Majority of the kids are like this and one or two of them get to the extreme like this cho (or whatever his name is).

I know and have seen many kids who are very good and well-behaved inspite of being super-rich and inspite of being raised here in the US. But, it's just like one of the hazards of urbanization and modernization and things being affordable.

Kids who are manueverd to the right thinking will grow up to be better citizens and the ones that don't get help from parents and community will grow up to be 'problems'. This is my personal opinion, from my experience.

Deeps retorted...

Samahitha, I am not really arguing against you, in fact I agree with you for most extent. I was just wondering. One of the kids who died in the choking game, had really good parents (don't know if they behaved good in front of TV audience), but there seemed really no reason for the kid to try such a hazardous game as such. I guess added to parents and community, even peer influence counts a lot..

Harish Suryanarayana retorted...

The world is a strange and unpredictable place , so dreary and evil at times and so wonderfully charming . We can only hope , that in this protean existence , things will turn out fine .

Samahitha retorted...

I know, no argument. I was just putting my thoughts across (using your blog space)