The Concoction

An Ethiopian woman's musings on Africa, the world and everything in between

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        Wednesday, April 18, 2007
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        My condolences to the families of the victims of the Virginia Tech shooting, to the students who lost friends and their sense of safety at what was supposed to be home away from home, to the staff who are going to be burdened by helplessness and possibly the guilt of not protecting their students. It's a bloody mess - literally and figuratively.

        Inevitably, such tragedies bring bigger social issues to the spotlight. In the same way that Imus' racial and sexist comment opened the door for criticism of Hip Hop's (some, as the industry people would like us to differentiate) female-demeaning culture, the Virginia Tech massacre is opening up doors for various issues. From what I have read so far, heated online debates about violence against women, gun control, immigration and racial profiling are going on.

        Jill at Feministe RIGHTFULLY connected some dots about female students being easier targets in past school shootings, pointed at the "theme of misogyny" and caused a mixture of reactions.

        To me, whether Cho's crazy actions were triggered by one or several girls is besides the issue here. What's interesting is to see where people stand with regards to issues surrounding violence against women (VAW). The 262 comments on Feministe's post alone are worth reading because they reveal extreme view points on VAW. I belong to the camp which brings VAW discussion at every opportunity. My reasoning is that while 1:3 women is abused in her life time in one form or the other, discussing and arguing about VAW as often as possible is necessary. Several decades after the feminism movement we are still debating whether a woman who has been a victim of violence carries any responsibility for the crime committed against her. Insensitive, ignorant and loaded language such as(via Feministe)"This is the face of the teenage student who may have sparked the biggest gun massacre in US history", calls for commenting/correcting/bashing. It is dangerously misleading and falls in the category of "she got raped because she was asking for it" type of stupidity.

        Jefferson of Neither Blue nor Red is discussing gun control in his post What’s wrong with the NRA and suggests some points that Congress should consider. I don't necessarily agree with Jefferson's suggestion that non-US citizens should not be allowed to own a gun. Considering the fact that previous school shootings were committed by American citizens, this argument won't achieve much. Guns should not be easily available for purchase like hot donuts. Period.

        It is unfortunate that we still need Bowling-for-Columbine for some sort of progress towards gun control in America. While writing this post, my daughter interrupted me with that hurried excitement that only a young child has and said to me "Mommy isn't it awesome that in America people can change the law if they don’t like it?" Well, today is not a good day to answer that question. I didn’t want to kill her excitement with "Well, 67% of Americans want tighter gun control, but because NRA has politicians in its pocket, it doesn’t matter what the majority wants." I just gave her an unconvincing "Yeah". It is my sincere hope that something positive will come out of this madness and terrible tragedy. I also hope that the debate that re-started is not going to wear off and we resort to sending our kids to school in stab-proof hoodies and bullet-proof vests.

        Further reading
        Inside Cho's troubled mind
        Earlier signs of trouble
        Church leaders for tighter gun control

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        The face of VAW

        Kamilat - victim of acid burning The face of VAW - violence against women. It should and can be stopped with enough commitment. Helping one woman at a time is a start.
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