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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Where do we go from here?

By Ardain IsmaCSMS Staff WriterTo say that what happened at Virginia Tech yesterday was a sad event would be quite an understatement. It was a tragedy. It was a gruesome scene that will forever change the lives of thousands and that will mark this Virginia town of Blacksburg for generations to come. I am not here to do a recount of events as most if not all of you already know that an unidentified gunman went on a rampage at Virginia Tech yesterday morning while killing 32 people. I would rather like to concentrate on how we are evolving as a modern society.      Although the identity of the gunman has not yet been revealed, we have to agree that we have become over the years a society where violence is rapidly becoming the norm rather than the exception. I ceased to watch the local news long time ago. If I want to know what is going on in my community, I either get it online or through the local paper. It is sometimes disgusting to watch television news footages, which are filled with horrible scenes. The words “shoot out” or “killing” or “die” always dominate more than half of the news, living me dazed by overly graphic descriptions that can only fuel violence in the minds of those who are already motivated by eccentric misdeeds.            The first thing that came to mind when I heard the news was that I was witnessing another terrorist attack against innocent civilians. When the evidences started to prove otherwise (although this still needs to be clarified), I could not help myself to think of how vulnerable we’ve become as a people. As America mourns this morning, there is an important question we need to ask ourselves: Are our children safe in college campuses around the country?            The answer is a flat “NO.”  And the idea that we live in a free and open society is nothing but a shameful cliché that does not hold, for freedom does not mean the ability to kill at will. Security measures must be put in place to assure the safeguard of our future generation.It would be too simplistic to say that in this vast country every crime could be prevented. But for God sake, we need to ask ourselves why our tax money is being used to fuel wars overseas, thereby creating the condition to bring daily gruesome pictures of death and destruction to our living room while a culture of violence is being instilled in the minds our youngsters. Wouldn’t it be wiser and more responsible that the money being used in Iraq and Afghanistan be diverted to strengthen the security at home?            Let’s face it. Despite the fact I strongly believe that Virginia Tech Administration should be fired for failing to take swift and decisive actions to prevent the mass-killing, I also have to admit that law enforcement badly handled the tragedy, which resulted into the death of more than 30 people—the largest mass-killing in US history.             Here are some disturbing questions. The first shootings took place at a coed dormitory around 7 am Monday when two individuals, one male and one female, were shot and killed at West Ambler Johnston Hall, a dormitory where nearly 1000 students stay. While police arrived on the scene and started to investigate, they quickly decided that “the incident was isolated and contained,” according to officials at a press conference. It is hard to imagine why was such a conclusion drawn so quickly?            It appears that university officials and local authorities were more interested in projecting an image of a false sense of security, than in making sure that evacuation procedures were in place to get the students out of harm’s way. It was clear that there was no systematic effort to warn students that a gunman might still be in the loose. Students were free to go about their business, unaware of the danger. “An email, blandly reporting that a ‘shooting incident’ had occurred and urging the “university community … to be cautious,” was not sent out until 9:26 am, only minutes before the second, far deadlier killing spree erupted,” news media reported.            It looks as if the names of our young, fallen soldiers being read on ABC News every Sunday morning are not enough. On top of their individual stories, there will be more stories to tell, as the lives of the dead at Virginia Tech will be reviewed one by one.            It is time to ask those we have voted into office to do their job. The future of our children is utterly tied to the security of our institutions. Money needs to be spent here, not abroad.NoteDr. Ardain Isma is also a novelist and chief editor of CSMS Magazine. He teaches Cross-Cultural Studies at Nova southeastern University. You can read a synopsis of his latest novel “Alicia.” Click here: http://www.themulticulturalgroup.com/books.htmlAlso see Contemporary Novel: http://www.csmsmagazine.org/news.php?pg=20050626I9

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