Monday, April 30, 2007

Wedding Bells

Jamie got married on Saturday. My lifelong friend and debate partner finally tied the knot! The ceremony was beautiful and the reception rocked, but mostly she and Chad looked so happy together that it melted my heart. I am so excited for her and wish her a lifetime of marital bliss! Josh and I at the dinner reception. The reception was at The Point, and for those of you that know, the view from way up there is breath-taking, but none of my pictures did it justice.As fun as the wedding and reception were, the real party started back at Don's house, when I got to play with some of 'my kids'. I love these rascals, even when they don't "touch me a little more softly" - you sick woman, Rach!

Friday, April 20, 2007

By the way... Virginia Tech thoughts

I don’t know why Virginia Tech has affected me so. I have never lived there, I have never known anyone to attend school there, and I didn’t know any of the victims or their families. But that hasn’t stopped me from spending the last three days pouring over online articles and readers’ comments until 2am. My seeming ‘removal’ from the situation failed to prevent an onslaught of tears as I tried so desperately to comprehend the horror I’ve seen plastered on my computer screen.

It seems to me there must be something wrong with the American lifestyle, something we need to fix. There must be angry, suicidal people in other countries, but why don't they go on shooting rampages? Are Americans more aggressive? More culturally diverse? Does America have too many minorities or not enough? Is it something Americans eat, listen to, or watch? Why has our patience run so thin? What "sets off" this American tradition of violence?

Is it pride? Americans are great at "knowing" their way is the absolute best, and even better at cutting down anyone who thinks/looks/believes/drives/votes/eats/lives/works differently. I'm not talking about America v. other countries - I'm talking about Americans v. other Americans. There's an overwhelming lack of acceptance for one another and when we don't accept each other, we certainly can't respect or love them.


Is this just the way it’s going to be? My greatest fear is there’s not only more, but much worse, to come. Current or future gun laws can't win this battle. The Virginia Tech shooter bought his guns legally, anyway. Anti-gun rhetoric says to eliminate gun purchases, enforce more gun control. I say someone that is willing to plan out a revenge like this one is also willing to obtain any weapon possible by which to carry it out. Pro-gun rhetoric says that if the victims had been armed they could have stopped the shooter before he did more harm. I say that the numbers don’t add up. On a campus of 25,000 people, only a few hundred may have encountered the shooter’s path that day – let’s say one percent. For only five of those people to have been armed, you’d have to arm another 495 people on the rest of the campus. That’s a lot of random people roaming the campus with guns. I doubt the increased risk of accident would be worth it.

Josh and I have wondered at times if we should arm ourselves against the outside world. We don’t live in a bad part of town, but we’ve had our fair share of sketchy neighbors. We’ve gone back and forth and back again several times over and only now, after days of sadness, horror, and unbelief, have we made a decision. As for me and my house, we will not own a gun. Josh can go shooting with his friends if he wants (as long as he wears ear protection) but he won’t bring a gun into our home. People have asked why we don’t want to protect ourselves, but I wonder exactly from whom do we need protection? We aren’t members of a gang, and we don’t use or sell drugs, so who exactly would be out to get us? Why have we let the media instill such a fear of the extraordinary that we let that fear govern our ordinary lives? I attended classes the same day the Virginia Tech students were killed. In fact, hundreds of thousands of students attended college classes across the United States and were not shot while doing so. While the shooting was tragic, we have to remember it wasn’t normal, and there is no way to ‘protect’ ourselves from every possible, yet unlikely, harm.

So that is our decision. We will teach our children not to touch guns or play with them, but knowing that children are curious and don’t always do exactly as told, we won’t tempt them by bringing one into our home. The increased risk of having a gun-related accident in our home far outweighs any harm that may or may not materialize, regardless what the media tells us.

Way back when...

I kept an intermittent blog on a few years back, and thought to update it today with my thoughts about and reaction to the Virginia Tech shooting rampage. I heard this site is more user-friendly, though, so I decided to join ranks here instead and try to keep all y'all updated on some impending changes to my life.

I just disovered blogger will let me change the dates of my posts, so I'm going to copy all the posts I had on xanga onto this site. It will be a fairly complete journal except for the entries I have on my hard drive, English notebook, and travel journal. How exciting!