Wednesday, April 18, 2007

My Head Was Swirling With Thoughts Yesterday

1. Korean. The VT shooter was born in Korea. So what? This had absolutely nothing to do with what happened. He was an American kid who spent the majority of his childhood in America. He was extremely troubled, but being brought up in America had more to do with what happened than his ethnicity.

2. Campus Lockdown. Two weeks ago there was a murder/suicide on the UW campus just steps from my husband's office. He was there when it happened. They did not lock down the campus nor did Dave even know what happened until hours later. I know that VT thought they had a murder/suicide at first, too. So I don't know...but these campuses are huge with thousands of people. If my child or husband was among the victims of the class room massacre at VT, though, I would be furious that they did not do more to alert the rest of the campus after they found the first two bodies. My family members are on three different American college campuses as I write this. Whitman is small with only 1500 students. The UM is bigger with 16,000 students and the UW is twice the size of that.

3. Guns: To Arm or Not to Arm. My son has always had a gun at college. The University of Montana allows guns. It is a 22 rifle. I do not buy the argument that had these kids at VT been armed, this would not have happened. If kids were allowed hand guns willy nilly on campus, who knows what would happen at some of their ridiculous parties. Believe me--they have some outrageous parties with plenty of alcohol and yes, other drugs. Not a good combination with guns. The shooter at VT in good old American tradition, bought his gun easily and legally. If Bush had not allowed the assault weapon ban to expire, a few lives may have been saved. He would not have been able to purchase such a large clip with so many bullets.

4. Iraq War. Within the last ten days, 32 of our best and brightest young Americans were killed in Iraq. Just today alone, 48 Iraqi citizens lost their lives as the madness continues. Yesterday, I went and listened to Bobby's father tell about what a hero Bobby has been in the mess that is the civil war in Iraq. And for serving his country and for efforts he participated in to protect his fellow Marines, he is in prison for eight years. My brain cannot handle the lunacy nor the violence of the last few days.

5. Cell Phones. Yesterday afternoon, after hearing about Bobby and about everything, the piece of information that brought me to my knees was the story about the cell phones. At VT, as they began to carry out the bodies of our beloved American children, there was not silence. Every single one of those kids had a cell phone in a pocket, a purse, or a back pack. While these kids were being placed in body bags and taken to the morgue, their cell phones kept ringing frantically, incessantly.

6. Holocaust Survivor. One of the professors killed at VT was a 76 year old math teacher who had survived the Holocaust. He had been in a death camp in Romania as a child. One of my husband's colleague's at UW, Arno, is also a Holocaust survivor. He is over 80 years old, a world reknown scientist, and he still goes to work every day. He is listed as a principle investigator on my husband's grants even though they are projected over the next 5-10 years. He is a dear old man and even though he is Jewish, he has given us a Christmas gift every single year for over 25 years. And all I could think about when I heard about the math teacher at VT saving his student's lives was Arno. My heart broke into a million pieces.

7. Oh yes, Our Car Was Stolen. After the events of the day, yesterday afternoon, I went to the store to buy Dave and me one of our favorite dinners---king salmon with rice and ceasar salad. The young man in the seafood section as always asked me how my day was going. I get tired of the inane meaningless questions where he expected the obligatory, "Just fine, thank you!"

So I responded after a moment of silence, "Ah, actually not so good. My husband's car was stolen out of the UW parking lot this morning."

He was shocked to not receive the expected answer. "Oh whoa! Ah, whoa. Um. So sorry to hear that."

"Well, compared to what happened on that other campus, yesterday, it is nothing, really." Befuddled and not knowing what else to say, he wrapped up my salmon and wished me a nice dinner.

Yes, our Acura which is actually Kaley's car, was taken without permission. My husband, the classic absent minded professor, was distracted because he had loads of files to carry and transfer to his friend's car so they could travel to Olympia, our state capital, to testify before our legislature and to meet with our governor about the risks of toxic chemicals. He may have dropped the keys near the car---who knows---but when they got back from Olympia, the car was no longer there. A while ago, he parked the car illegally and it got towed for $350, then he lost the keys which cost us $200 to replace, and now he lost the whole entire car. The Seattle police told him in all likelihood, the car will show up in Federal Way in a few days.

Oh well, it is just a car!!