Tuesday, 17 April 2007

VirginiaTech Shooting

Its a sad and senseless thing, and obviously while no one victim's death is sadder than another, there's something rather macabre about surviving the Holocaust only to be gunned down in a university classroom. At least professor Librescu had a long and eventful life. Most of those who were killed were barely into their twenties.

Why do these things happen? Its probably too simplistic to only blame loose gun laws, but surely that's more pertinent to the issue than blaming computer games, as some are doing. A general cultural acceptance and promotion of the perpetuation of violence as important, laudable and heroic may certainly seem to be part of the problem. But to what degree can these values be drained out of our societies? And how?

If people who commit acts like this are desperately seeking solace in nihilistic violence in order to satisfy the desire for meaning and significance, does the answer lie in imbuing alternative forms of expression and actions with greater significance? If societies placed more value and socially glorified writing poetry, or painting, or... I dunno, birdwatching, enough so that they might become attractive alternatives to the taking of life, would things be different?

I don't see that happening any time soon. In the short run tighter gun laws might be the best course of action.


Monday, 16 April 2007

And the myth lives on

The architects of the Iraq war have a simple strategy to counter the growing evidence that they lied in order to stampede the United States into waging war: just ignore the truth and keeping lying.

A case in point is Dick Cheney's insistence in an interview with Rush Limbaugh that Iraq was connected to Al Qaeda and, by implication, in the September 11 attacks. Despite the mountain of claims to the contrary, the latest of which is a damning report issued by the Pentagon on the very same day as the interview, this lie through constant repetition will surely persist for a long time to come. To make it all the more believable, the lie is supported with another: that evidence has been found showing this link.

In other news, a study of primary school children in a Baghdad neighbourhood shows that 70% are suffering from trauma due to the violence unleashed by the invasion.