April 24, 2007

The long reach of America

As always, I’m behind in my writing. Sorry guys! This post (clearly) will be about US stuff, and the next will touch on happenings here.

Before we moved, I made a point not to watch or read the news. There was just so much violence, and so much stupidity from our current government (and yes, on both sides). It was difficult to do, as the news was constantly on the TV, radio and internet.

Now that we live here, I have no trouble watching the news, as there isn’t nearly the amount of violence and sadness. Most of the bad stuff that is reported happens in other parts of the world. I could almost bet that we have heard about more Kiwis killed abroad that have been killed here in New Zealand since we arrived.

I also make a point to read CNN and other various US news sources. If it gets to be too much, I just close the page – knowing I won’t be continually assaulted by the pictures and stories as I go through my day. Until last week.

The Virginia Tech shootings were such big news they were the front page news of the Wellington newspaper (and maybe the national paper as well) two days in a row. In fact, the entire front of the newspaper each day was dedicated to that story. America has quite a long reach.

Of course this incident (plus the domestic-situation shootings the week before and the two workplace shootings since) once again raises questions about gun control – or the lack thereof. I doubt there will be any change in the US over guns. It seems people are quite attached to them. Not that there aren’t guns here…it’s just that they are only held by true hunters/farmers and a special police force. Yep, that’s right, our everyday police do not carry guns. In fact, for a while they carried tasers, but even those are coming under fire as being too harsh. There are over 1 million guns in this country, but 75% of gun deaths are suicides.

I’m not even sure what could have been done to prevent the VA Tech shootings – the student was clearly mentally unstable. How can that be policed? I did see in the days following the shootings, there were overreactions to other students who made comments or to professors trying to explore/understand the shootings. I’m not sure this will solve anything, as anyone who is upset about anything these days can usually hold it together long enough to buy a gun, make a plan, and bust into wherever they want. The only solution, then, is to make guns more difficult to get, or work to make sure the only guns out there to be purchased are the kind used for hunting. It won’t stop everyone, but it’s damn harder to shoot 30+ people with a .22 shotgun.

I have to say I was pretty annoyed that one of the first statements regarding the shooting was that they were looking into any ties with terrorism. I don’t recall that being an issue with the other mass school shootings. Will all the terrorism talk continue with the next president? Is America doomed to consider every violent act in future a possible act of terrorism?

I have no answers. The situation just gives me another reason to be grateful for living here.

1 comment:

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

I know exactly what you mean. There are times I hear news from America and wonder what country they're talking about, because it's certainly not the America I left.