19 April 2007


Hokies in our hearts.

Today we are all Hokies.

If you’ve been on the internet since the chilling and deplorable massacre in Blacksburg you’ve no doubt seen people use these slogans hundreds of times. There are logos out there for virtually every school which incorporate the VT logo and a black ribbon. All of these gestures mean well and they are probably heartfelt, but there’s something about them that makes me really think, and I felt like I would share my thoughts on the matter. These are kind of my raw thoughts, so forgive me if it's a little "stream of consciousness."

First of all how insane was it that NBC and other news outlets have been playing Cho Seung-Hui's video non-stop? NBC has it all over the place, yet Imus is too inappropriate for air. It goes to show you just how messed up this country is when news networks are airing these videos in their entirety yet bleeping out when Cho says "fuck" -- like that's the inappropriate thing about the goddamned videos.

Now back to my thoughts on people's reactions to the event. The reactions to the tragedy I’m speaking of here are not those of the Virginia Tech “family,” that being those related to the victims, VT students, staff, alumni, and the surviving victims themselves. Their grief is real, it’s palpable and the media is feeding off of it with reckless abandon. This event has hit them in ways I cannot begin to imagine.

I’m speaking of the average messageboard poster, a type of person with which we are all familiar. To the majority of people, the Virginia Tech killings have been reduced to a bumper sticker. I’ve seen more internet posts mostly consisting of “Hokies in our hearts” with little real commentary or insight about the tragedy. This has become a “Support Our Troops” sort of thing. It’s become just something people say because they think they’re supposed to without giving real support, without opening themselves up to the facts and events behind the catch phrase. People ignore the realities of the VT massacre the same way they ignore the war. What this saying has essentially become is a buffer for real discourse about the event. Now I don’t expect some expertly nuanced debate about psychiatric treatment in America and the rights of professors to demand treatment for students they feel are in need of it or about gun control, though even political posturing is a more honest reaction to the event than just ignoring them and slapping a sticker on your truck.

I promise you this guy has no less than 4 ribbon stickers on his tailgate.

The point I’m getting at is people need to forget about the slogans, think about the shooting, don’t just fucking copy-paste a gif image or some slogan. Think of the victims and their families. Think of what drove the shooter to this dire end. Read the more insightful media coverage out there, not the sick sensationalist shit on Nancy Grace or Fox News. If the only reaction you have to the event is to act like a sheep and spit out the same thing you’ve seen posted a million times then just shut the hell up. You bring nothing to the table and don’t feel like you have to inject yourself into the tragedy. You don’t have to post anything at all about the events of this week. The entire country feels for these victims and their families, don’t trivialize it with some cliché.

A poster brought up the point that in October, when the Tigers take on the Hokies at Death Valley, they expect the entire crowd to cheer for VT when they take the field. Several posters expressed the same feeling, while one or two disagreed and were belittled. I’m with the naysayers. By October, the media will have long since moved on, and with it goes the short attention span of today’s media consumers. ESPN will do a piece on the Hokies’ first game and then will forget about it. God forbid new tragedies occur, but surely something will have pushed this event far out of the way in everyone’s mind but the VT family, on whose lives this tragedy has rendered an indelible scar.

Yes, come October many people may stand up and cheer for the Hokies, but only if they have a jumbotron to tell them to.

Discuss this at The Rant.