Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Janie’s Got a Gun

17/04/07. ABC News Cho Seung-Hui is a 23-year-old resident alien of the United States, a Virginia Tech senior majoring in English and the man who killed 33 people — including himself — on the Virginia Tech campus on Monday.
Over a conversation yesterday with a friend in LA, she expressed that she is scared to send her 5 year old to school since the campuses are becoming so violent. All this when I am hoping the world becomes a safer place for all my children.
Couple of questions:
1. Who will take the social responsibility for the deaths now that the killer is dead?
2. Agreed guns don’t kill people, people kill people but would some body wake up and make access to firearms difficult in the US of A?
3. Is it fair to assume that all consenting adults have the ability to hold reasonable judgment at all times when given easy access to kill another?
4. If yes, then why is US crying hoarse over North Korea’s/any-other-nation’s nuclear program? (I would assume that people taking decisions on nuking another nation have more control over their emotion and judgment and more time to deliberate than the average Joe who have a gun in their back pocket)
5. If the killer had say a switchblade instead of an automatic, the death toll would have been lesser?
6. Is it fair to highlight that the killer is not of American origin? Is redemption easier if he was?
7. Levitt says swimming pools statistically, claim more lives of children below 10 years than do guns. Will extending that argument trivialize the issue on hand?
8. Agreed bold policy decisions often influence ground realities like crime rate (abortion and its cumulative downstream effect on crime rate and here we are talking about US). But are we seriously analyzing the increase in the rate of first-time viz a vie repeat offenders across the various nations? And what are the correlations there?
9. Is it practical to police a campus?
10. Is it practical to do a socio-psychological profiling of all students?
11. Flat world is fine when it is with commodities (I have reservations here too). But the same in case of people/talent brings in socio-cultural challenges. Are we doing enough to address this?
12. Will this affect the immigration laws?
On a more personal note, I went to a school that had the following distinctions:
1. More students per square foot than the written words. (got a Guinness book mention no less)
2. An environment that stifled creativity and encouraged as Niladri said intellectual apartheid.
3. Apathetic teachers with only a few exceptions.
4. And all this in what was supposedly one of the better schools at that time.
Consequently, the level of frustration was high. In fact, my guilt-tripping, value-oriented upbringing did not debilitate me from plotting a plan to blow up the school before a physics test. We plotted and planned (while the blessed lot studied) but eventually it didn’t fructify because of a design flaw (the standby power generator room was too far away from the main building) and the fact that we did not have access to the primary raw materials required for the fire show. At the end, I got 82/100 in the said test. I went on to study in DSE and have a job that I love. If we had access and license to destabilize lives, I would have had a life term in prison.
I am making a limited point here.

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