Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Life During Wartime (II)

The carnage at Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) in Blacksburg just two days ago has left many people reeling and sleepless at night, me included. But imagine if you will the violent deaths of 33 people set within a larger context. Say the US is occupied by Russian and Chinese soldiers and technicians who've overthrown the government but are, they say, only here to help us. They have put into effect what they declare is a better model for governance, one less threatening to them and more stable for the rest of the region. Imagine shootings like that perpetrated by Cho Seung-Hui using a Walther P22 and a Glock 19 9mm handgun occuring regularly in Blacksburg and in various other hotspots across the occupied USA, in addition to bombings -- not just bomb threats. Some Americans are willing to work with the Russians and Chinese in hopes for a better day, but others are trying to drive them out, regardless of the possible benefits of cooperation. Far-fetched? Or the situation in Iraq from the eyes of an average Iraqi?

As riveting as the Blacksburg shootings are, and as unsettling and tragic, terrible events in Iraq drag on, with the U.S., British and "coalition" partners patroling that country. If we're traumatized now, imagine how much more so we'd be if living in Iraq, having to deal with such things every day, with no end in sight.

Number of people killed on April 16 at Virginia Tech: 33.
Number of U.S. soldiers reported killed in April 2007 at the time of this post: 65.
Number of British soldiers reported killed this month to date: 8.
Number of Iraqis reported killed in one day (today, April 18): 171.

Today's Rune: Possessions.

Birthdays: Clarence Darrow, Joy Gresham, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Samuel P. Huntington, Ali Khamenei, Margaret Hassan, Kathy Acker, James Woods.


Anonymous said...

Somehow we humans tend to disconnect our brains, don't have the compassion for those humans who are dying in Iraq, be they our men and woman or Iraqui men, women and children. They become numbers rather than individuals. They are across the world. We seem to connect more to the tragedies that befall us when they are closer to home. That is a sad state of affairs.

Johnny Yen said...

Thanks for reminding of the perspective.

I was watching a documentary on Apollo 13 recently (yesterday was the anniversary of the splashdown) and go to thinking about how wonderful it was that so many millions of people focused their wishes for the well-being of these three men. And then it occurred to me to wonder how many men died in the Vietnam War that particular day.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I'd have to agree with anonymous. We tend to distance ourselves from tragedies taking place far away, even when we see it on the television. Oh sure, at first news about Iraq interested the general public, but now it's grown tiring. The media is looking for fresh stories, even to the extent of plastering Cho Seung Hui's face on the front page of every newspaper (which, by the way, is what he wanted).

Sheila said...

Stop the deaths already!!!! What the hell is up with the world today? And Iraq? We shoulda been outta their long ago!