Saturday, February 16, 2008

Short Subjects Now the Rule

The recent schedule of events and changes to my daily routine has rendered me far less able to write columns and comments, a change about which I am very displeased. Nevertheless, things are as they are and it doesn’t look like they are going to change anytime soon, so short subjects have become the new paradigm.

Publicizing Creeps and Jackasses

Maybe it’s because we have 24-hour-a-day news channels and we hear more about some events than we used to, or maybe there are just more occurrences of some types of events, but my perception is that there is a lot more wanton violence these days.

From the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center (twice) and the Pentagon, to the Columbine mass murder, to the Virginia Tech slaughter, and now the multiple killings at the Northern Illinois University, it seems that these horrors are occurring more frequently.

At two issues rise to the fore:

First, whether it makes sense to have people who are trained in the use of firearms carry weapons in schools and on campuses to dissuade violent attacks against students, or to stop short an attack after it has begun?

I do not want our nation’s schools turned into armed camps, but I’m not opposed to trained persons carrying weapons in schools, and in fact believe having armed personnel will overall make schools safer.

Second, to what degree does the media hyper-coverage of these events glorify school violence?

I believe that we provide way too much information about these vicious or insane scumbags. We don’t need to know their name, and we don’t need to see their face. We don’t need to know why they did what they did. The more recognition that is given to the perpetrators of violent events, the more attractive they become to potential/future killers. News stories should go something like this: “A murderous lowlife entered a crowded lecture hall at Northern Illinois University and killed five people before killing himself.” That’s it; nothing more.

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