Monday, April 16, 2007

Virginia Tech Slaughterhouse & Kurt Vonnegut

April 16th. Taxes have to get posted today. It's a big check to Uncle Sam. And then I need to get Martha to the Air Bus shuttle for her trip to Mexico and make lunch for Phyllis so she can eat in time for her flight home to Muskegon. Then there is the list of things that have to get done: new tires for the car, groceries, shirts to be laundered, and the floor to be vacuumed, yes that floor was top on Martha's list before she took off this morning. Then the plumbers came for the leak in the kitchen in the gym.
Then I turned on the radio and heard about the rampage at Virginia Tech. And all else faded into the backwater of trivia and non-essential.
32 dead including the gunman. A morning of terror as I was running errands and getting my hair cut. Chaos descending on the innocent for reasons that will be speculated and spun by countless news anchors and editorials. The highest, largest, worst, most deadly bringing a new notariety to a school known for brilliant geeks and techy students.
Kurt Vonnegut wrote in "Slaughterhous Five" (I think, since it was so long ago that I read it) how he was trying to quit smoking as a prisoner of war. He was locked deep beneath the city of Dresden Germany, doing basically slave labor and endlessly fussing about his own health and making his top priority to quit smoking.
Then the Allies unleashed a hellish bombing on Dresden, creating a firestorm that sucked the life out of virtually everyone on the streets. Vonnegut was deep beneath the city in some sort of labor camp. When he emerged and witnessed hell on earth, he immediately began smoking.
I have no desire to take up cigarettes, but the shocking killings jolt me to reassess what I was considering important and priorities this morning. Are not some of those things that get me all worked up really, in the end, pretty trivial? Am I doing what is of consequence to bring about peace and the reign of Christ or am I "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic?"
More legislation is not necessarily the most critical response. Schools and state governments must re-examine campus safety and gun purchasing ability. But on the deeper level; who was this gunman? What kind of craziness was in his head? Who could have intervened in his life? Who are those in my community who live on the edge? Who need a warm human touch? Who need to be directed to health professionals? Wat really important?


At 8:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...



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