Wednesday, February 20, 2008

NIU DeKalb

16 February 2008

I've been busy in thought and working on a blog about this whole NIU thing in my head. As you may or may not know, NIU is in my "backyard" at home. I did some undergrad there and it is my graduate alma mater. So this hits way too close to home. Thank you everyone for the email and such over the past couple of days. And you think it is so dangerous here compared to home...at least with mortars landing in my backyard here (although just as random) fewer people have been killed per event. Wondering if Iraq isn't safer after all... We have more people with weapons exposed, mind you) and fewer incidents of shootings! Go figure.

Maybe the solution is to give instructors and teachers loaded firearms and the permission to use them liberally! Tenure and promotions based on the number of total rounds spent per semester! I'm just imagining one of my marketing profs ( a little petite thing about 5' 2" who is also a marthoner ) with a 357 Magnum strapped to her leg?! Or just for "emphasis," one of my other marketing profs firing off a round into the ceiling to emphasize "Marketing is everything and everything is marketing, damn it!"

But honestly, I'm wondering if the press doesn't glorify this all by even printing the names and personal details of these wanna-be famous mass killers. The focus which should be on those wronged has become so much overshadowed by the potential promised infamy of the killer. I can't help but to wonder if mass murder movies like Friday 13th or Freddy along with video games don't promote this type of acting-out of thoughts as being acceptable. In the end, doesn't this cheapen the value and sanctity of human life? How can we teach current and future generations to embrace all the sanctity, beauty and fragility of life when all these other outside influences glorify and promote the taking of life? The more theatrical the better.

Maybe I'm just an "old soul," but I've never taken any pleasure in watching movies with the purposeful theme of killing. It is too difficult for me to justify watching for entertainment the taking of life in the depths of my head. Maybe having grown up with two sets of great-Grandparents helped me to appreciate and celebrate life...not rally around the creative depiction of snuffing out something so precious as life. I don't know. But these problems are rooted at a societal level. Unless you can alter the current mind-set of what is just, right, humane and news-worthy, there is no hope that this will or ever can change for the better. How can we change the mindset of our population when the press gleefully glorifies the horrors of violent killing and rejoices and considers it "news" when people are senselessly murdered in ANY situation.

Take for example something as mundane as Brittany being sprung from the loony bin. Remember the helicopter shots of the paparazzi swarming the car she is in like flies on shit? Every time the car moved, the flies flew away only to land on and swarm again on the car (poop) once it stopped moving. Is this actually "news?" Men killing their 8 and 9 month nearly full-term pregnant girlfriends! Not just one, but two in the news in a one month period. And now a meat cleaver killer in NY! How can we ever expect our future generations to treasure every breath, appreciate and nurture the feelings of ourselves and others, or even marvel at the beauty of nature and actually celebrate life when it is the killing of life and destruction of civilized things that are considered the new deities of our self-described, news-informed, educated, lawful "civilization?" This plastered all over the screens in our home everyday reassuring people that if you want to be famous, this is how to do it.

I don't know that drugs are killing our society as quickly as the press putting on a pedestal, heinous criminal behavior and video games promoting the elimination of pseudo humans who are keeping us from our "prize". I know...I've gone off the deep end, haven't I? So many sad thoughts going through my head. Granted I didn't know anyone shot or killed at NIU yesterday. But still it is horrific and it has happened so close to my home. Unimaginable for me. My Alma mater. Where I once had classes. My neighborhood. My neighbors. Too close. Not like I live in some rough neighborhood in the inner-city of Chicago. This is De Kalb. The most exciting (and wholesome) thing happening is supposed to be Cornfest every August. The whole county is a sleepy little, neighborly place to just..."be."

In a military action like Iraq, you expect death and unthinkable human violence. And while I've been here, I've continually thought about and imagined the safety and security of "home." You know, ruby slippers, click your heels, "no place like home" and all that happy horseshit. What if that's just not true? What if "safe" and "United States" don't belong in the same sentence? What if Dorothy decided NOT to go back to Kansas? What if the Wizard convinced her to hang out for awhile in Oz?

"Stay in Oz, Dorothy!!! Kick back and chill, girlfriend. Bask a little while in your glory! For crying out loud, baby, you just killed the Wicked Witch of the West. It doesn't get any better than this!"

See, there we go again...glorifying killing. The WWW didn't get off with a month in jail and three years of parole. She didn't do any community service...she was KILLED. Maybe death at the hands of others is just an ingrained thing in our society...more than we'd like to admit.

Well, what started out as just thinking about a blog write-up has about written itself. I know I'll visit the campus while I'm home on leave. I get home back on 28Feb. Until then, my thoughts and prayers are with NIU.
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