However, when coupled with the need to get information out first, this becomes a great danger to the world around us. We see this phenomena in the 24 Hour News Channels also. Instead of doing good investigation of sources and information, we trust whomever will give us the information we want, the way we want and the quickest. When this is absent, we always have innuendo, perfected by the folks at FoxNews (see Swift Boats and Obama is Muslim) and the political blogs- and seen at every outlet this week.
This phenomena of getting an opinion out there first has come to a head in my mind this week. The Immediatistas* (it is always hard to spell a word you just made up) offered up their judgements on gun control, campus security, one guy's mental illness and the problems of freedom in America within moments of the massacre. The worst being a National Review writer calling VT students to task for not being brave enough (about 24 hours after news broke of the event)
Instead of listening, we speak. Watching the news conferences and the questions asked by some members of the media (all looking for the real scoop, which never happens at news conferences- don't they know this?) frustrated me beyond belief. However, seeing some blogs and news agencies disseminating false information, in hopes they got it right and would win the Scoop War (no one remembers when you are wrong and you can change history if you speak wrongly loud enough- see FoxNews and the 2000 election) is sickening. There is never any accountability.
No bloggers or commentators should have had anything about the VaTech massacre for at least 24 (heck 48) hours apart from straight news reporting or condolences. There should be a moratorium on opinion until the facts are in. I know, I know.. I am a dreamer.
That said I offer 2 things (since it has been more than 48 hours)
- Nothing will change regarding gun laws. We are a cultish society that worships the idea of Gun Rights and will stop at nothing to keep any sane laws off the books (we even try to tie Jesus to gun freedom). We are a violent society and violent societies with absolute freedom have consequences. Decide what you want to do with that freedom, but there are unintended consequences for everything (I am not advocating anything, just offering a thought- of course my opinions on America's facination with violence are posted below).
- My only connection to this story is my time in (and love for) Virginia. As a student minister for half a decade, Virginia Tech was the number 1 school my students ventured to each fall upon graduation from area high schools. Thank the Lord all of those students and their siblings are safe. Also, my father-in-law works for Virginia Tech. He is an Agriculture Economist and works directly with farmers and is rarely on campus. That said, I am terribly saddened by this story. But, I cannot get the idea out of my head that such horrible death and destruction is happening daily in Iraq, mainly due to US presence. With 100 civilians killed daily in Iraq, mostly by car/ suicide bombers and ethnic cleansing, parents are mourning the loss of their children daily (children with futures as bright as those at VT). That is 3 VT massacres per day in Iraq. Our world must expand to care deeply for those lost souls and we must not forget that, ever.
*Immediatistas are those in the media and blog world that must report an opinion on a subject before anyone else does (or report on news before it is verified). Whether it is hard news or reporting on music (my next rant) without properly digesting it, they offer no service besides the stroking of their own ego. They get to be first, but rarely are they best or long lasting.
This is why you may notice I am usually a day or 2 behind news on my blog. It is why I may review a film after seeing it twice or an album after listening a number of times. It is about proper digestion (I don't eat fast food and don't want fast news). Its purpose is not to get to something first, but to post on a subject when I have had a chance for reflection and thought. I am sure it does not make what I say any more insightful, but hopefully it is not even less insightful.