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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Permanent Link to Reflections On A Massacre

This post has been offered by my very good friend Michael Linn Jones from the Gun Toting Liberal for this web site. Thank you Mike!

Written By: Michael Linn Jones

Permanent Link to Reflections On A Massacre

It has been roughly 24 hours since the slaughter ended at Virginia Tech. Details of the mass murderer are coming out in dribs and drabs, but at the time of this writing it is becoming apparent that he had a grudge. Whether triggered by a romantic failure, a dispute over grades, or just an overflowing disgust with those things American, Virginia Tech was a scene of terror. For whatever the cause, terror is what it turned into.

I noticed that while the bodies of those poor kids had not even been removed from the scene of their horrible death, Brian Ross of ABC had an article out about how the assailant “could” have used high capacity magazines, and that such was due to the failure of Congress to reimpose the assault weapons ban. It would not be beyond the impossible to assume that the article was ready and waiting for a day such as yesterday. That is not journalism, but pushing an agenda at a very coarse point of a already horrible day.

President Bush has visited Virginia Tech, and ordered flags at half mast. Flowers are going to abound in areas so as to allow people to genuinely grieve. Their world has been shattered, and as for those who lost loved ones, words are difficult to produce to descirbe their anguish, or to alleviate their sorrow.

Many other things will happen: concerts, speeches, religious services, memorials, days of remembrance, and the ever increasing anniversaries of that day; with each succeeding year the event will convert from a glowing hot memory of today to the colder climes of history. The heat of it will only reside within those who sent their loved ones to a place of learning only to bring them home in a coffin. It is sad indeed to see a parent bury a child.

The closure will come, as best it can. For some it will never even visit, but remain aloof and distant, like a mirage of hope. The hurt never goes away and despite all the technology available, it must be dealt with in private.

There is something unseemly in using this massacre as a vehicle for an agenda; any agenda. This is America; we’re full of agendas and it is safe to say they will never go away. But they can wait a week or so.

The unkindest thought that has crossed my mind comes more in the form of a question, and is not part of any agenda. This question, which arose in my mind late last night is this: should we grieve more for the families of these victims of lunacy more than we should the families of those dying and being maimed in Iraq and Afghanistan?
It is ironic, and also sick, that our lost soldiers and lost students share one common thing: they were targets of people who hate the United States and the American people.

Like after 9/11, we must come to terms with the fact that hatred is a powerful force in the world, and it oozes through cultures without regard to borders. What the scumbag did yesterday in Blacksburg is no different than what the scumbags did on 9/11, or what the scumbag did in Oklahoma City. They not only wanted to end as many lives as they could, but they wanted (and still want, in great numbers) to end the lives of everyone else through fear.

In other words, one’s heart may still beat and the lungs may pull air, but the heart is stilled through fear. The aim is to make us as rabbits in a thunderstorm, too frightened to move. Or think.

In time, a memorial to these people at Virginia Tech will be erected. That is right, and proper. Yet if you want to contribute to a memorial to them yourself, or to those of 9/11 or Oklahoma City, then LIVE. Without fear? No, of course not. But live DESPITE whatever fears you have. That is courage, and courage is what will defeat terrorism, in whatever form it takes.

May these poor people find eternal rest. May God have mercy and welcome their souls with open arms.

But no rest for the living. We have challenges to meet; to overcome. Freedom is truly not a gift; it must be fought for by each generation. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, we are perhaps not at the beginning of the end, but rather the end of the beginning.

We will never lose the struggle for freedom on our own shore unless we lose it in our own hearts.
Michael Linn Jones

Personal Note to my friend, thank you for offering me your talent for this post. It is an amazing and thoughtful piece.

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