Please keep the Virginia Tech students, faculty, and administration in your thoughts and prayers. Virgina Tech is a high quality engineering school, and I know several graduates. Today's events have affected me greatly.
We have seen far too many of these instances in recent years. This is, of course, the worst. Unfortunately, unless my memory fails me, it is not the first of 2007. I think there have been at least two workplace shootings thus far in the last 4 months. (The press is focusing on school shootings, not workplace or school shootings. I see no real difference.)
Thank God these incidents were not as common when I was in school. I knew some kids who were in the right category for this kind of action. One even resembled a Columbine shooter. So, when yet another shooting happens it hits me hard. Were these kids evil, No. They were kids who were troubled, awkward, and didn't know how to cope.
In the wake of this horrible, horrible incident the press and the public mob will vilify the shooter. He is culpable for his actions, and should be held accountable. At this time, we do not know his motives, but I suspect he is only a symptom. In the coming days, there will be a move to create stricter gun control. This is like taking Aspirin for a Migraine. We need to treat the disease.
Our society is broken. We stress each other and ourselves to the breaking point. We don't take enough vacation. At times, talking to a co-worker can be like walking a mine field. We do not form communities. We don't take the time. Our social skills are falling apart and we no longer remember how to take care of ourselves or others.
I am as guilty as anyone of these things. I have lived in the Washington D.C. area for almost 9 years, and I have never felt part of a physical community. Only in the past couple of years have I begun to realize that I am a part of a several broader communities, brought together by common interests, if not by physical proximity.
Beyond our stress load, is our treatment or each other. We are not civil to each other. Civility does not mean agreeing with everything a person says, or even being politically correct. Civility means being polite. Civility means holding the door for someone. Say "Thank You" to the person sweeping the floor. Civility means not cutting someone off in traffic just to get there 10 seconds earlier. It means listening when someone is talking, even if you don't agree.
Will this solve all of our problems? Probably not. It is a step in the right direction. Instead of venting your frustration and anger at today's events, step back and use that energy to make the life of those around you just a little bit better. A simple "Thank You" to the cashier or the security guard or your co-worker can make a world of difference.