Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"Join in the national healing"?

At the top of CNN.com this afternoon, a blue banner read: "Watch Now>>Virginia Tech convocation. Join in the national healing."

I hope I can explain why this rubbed me the wrong way without offending anyone touched by this tragedy. Make no mistake, this is a terrible tragedy. I feel shocked and sickened just thinking about it.

But my life isn't changed in any measurable way by these events. I don't think I need healing.

The "nation" certainly does need "healing". However, I'm pretty sure that healing will not be brought about by the small measure of comfort afforded by mourning with those that mourn. The healing our nation needs will come about through changes in the individual, not by passively listening in on a memorial.

In a way, it seems to me that this attitude broadens the grief surrounding the killings so much as to almost dispel it. To compare the tinge of sadness felt by Holly Housewife in Spanish Fork, Utah to the gaping hole of wrenching grief felt by those who truly NEED healing--victims, families, students, alumni--is just wrong.

Allowing the general public to watch the Virginia Tech memorial for free is a wonderful thing for CNN to have done. Calling it a "national healing", however, is a bit much.


Anonymous said...

I was going to post something very similar to this. However, I didn't because I started to think that maybe this is just a sign of my own personal apathy. Have I come too immuned to these tragedies? Am I too far removed from my fellow man? To be honest, there was a small part of me that was Apathetic towards the Trolley Square incident. However, that hit awefully close to home for me to have complete apathy.

I haven't convinced my self whether this is social apathy or not. However, I don't like the "national healing" argument either. Thanks for your thoughts, they have left me thinking.

Keryn said...

Thanks for such an insightful comment, Travis. Those are really good thoughts--I don't know how much of my response is social apathy, either. That worries me, because I truly want to care.

And why did I feel so different after 9/11? Was I less callous then? Or are there other factors involved--like the attack on 9/11 was on our nation, and thus on all of us; while the Trolley Square and Virginia Tech attacks were more amorphous? I don't know either. But they are interesting, if unsettling, questions.

Kojo said...

Your post seems a bit at odds with itself. On the one hand, you say that the convocation will only bring "a small measure of comfort," implying that it isn't sufficient. Yet you also say that the general public only feels a "tinge of sadness," not "wrenching grief" like those more personally involved.

I think President Bush is right when he says that this is a national tragedy. I would also agree with your second point, however, that the scope of the tragedy in most of our lives isn't life-changing. But that being the case, isn't participating in a memorial service--even if it only brings about a "small measure of comfort"--likely to have a substantial effect on the national "tinge of sadness?"

The Deseret Spectacle said...

You reaction doesn't strike me as a reflection of apathy, callousness or anything of that nature.

It may be my own caustic nature, but perhaps because it is a national tragedy, I am more sensitized to hints of sensationalism or media exploitation, and right or wrong, that was my first reaction to CNN's headline.

The Deseret Spectacle