MICHAEL DAVIS: The Blame Game
Monday April 17, 2007 at Virginia Tech University a gunman took 32 lives. I am writing this the following day, Tuesday April 18. To give this piece a little more perspective I tell you this: I lost my sister and grandmother some time ago and when ever I hear of any random act of violence like what happened at Virginia Tech I always pause and think of what the families are going though. I say a silent prayer and hope that somehow the pain that they feel now will ease a bit over time. It never goes away but I hope that they find some comfort from what will seem like an eternity of grief.
My family unit was my mother, sister, grandmother and myself. So half of my family was taken from me. I had to deal with losing my sister and grandmother; my mother had to deal with losing her first-born child and her mother. It hit us both very hard. We were lucky enough to have friends and family around us to comfort us. After a while – a great while we had to deal with the why of what happened. Why them? Why now? Why not me? Why were they there? Etc, etc.
There was always a why.
Those questions are as biting now as they were then. My mother and I still deal with those questions every single day. As I said we had help getting though it.
In the last 24 hours I have heard the Virginia Tech Massacre described in many ways by many people in the media.
A National tragedy
A Nation mourns
America is saddened
United as one
We all feel this
The media is right about all of those statements. So if we are all in this together can we take some time to grieve? The focus now should be healing, comfort and caring. I’m sickened by certain media outlets that are now looking for someone to blame.
The new chorus from the media just 24 hours later is this:
Who is responsible?
Why did the University not go on lock down?
Could this have been avoided?
Should the president of the school be fired?
Should the head of campus security be fired?
Not to long from now the lawyers will be lining up to hold someone responsible and looking to cash a big check.
I get it. This is what happens when there is a big news story. Our national appetite is one that demands this type of media frenzy. There will be some legitimate questions asked.
But can we remember for a little while at least, remember that 33 people (including the shooter) have died?
That’s 33 people who have lost their lives.
That’s 33 families who are morning their sons, daughters, brothers and sisters.
That’s 33 futures extinguished.
That’s 33 funerals.
If, in fact, we are all in this together as the media say, then does that not include the media as well?
Can we wait a bit before we look to sell more papers, garner more ratings? Can we think about the students and the professors who will not wake up ever again and just focus on them and their families support. There will be plenty of time to ask questions and seek answers.
For each one of those 33 families they will have the rest of their lives to ask why.
And to the media — if you are still looking for someone to blame, I have a suggestion.
Blame the gunman.
Michael Davis is a comics creator and the founder of the Guardian Line series of comics as well as being a television producer and writer. He was a co-founder of Milestone Comics and his artwork has appeared in Wasteland, Green Arrow: Shado, Green Hornet and The Question, among others.