My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the victims of yesterday morning's tragic shootings in Blacksburg, Virginia.
I followed the story as best I could, and was genuinely horrified when each new report brought more gruesome details. I was equally horrified, though, when I saw evidence of how benumbed many of us seem to have become to the violence which permeates our society. The Columbine shooting happened April 20, 1999.
I know a great deal has happened in my life during the last 8 years. The climate of the United States and our attitude towards violent behavior and its aftermath has changed, as well. I was living in New York. Many of my friends were, as well. I recall our sending e-mails back and forth throughout the day as the events unfolded. None of that happened yesterday.
Part of it, I recognize, is that our circumstances have changed. I have lost contact with several of these people. Several others are now married with families of their own. At the same time, I also get the sense that we're also just that much more jaded.
While watching a news report early this morning, I overheard someone remark that it must be a slow news day, since the networks were devoting so much time to this particular story. I was amazed at this. This was the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States, yet, less than 24 hours after the fact, this particular individual seemed surprised that it was still regarded as important news.
I was similarly shocked when an acquaintance could speak of nothing else but the fact that the shooter had been identified as a resident alien. He launched into a nonsensical diatribe about the problems with our immigration policy.
I hope that these reactions are gross exceptions to the norm.
I hope that we have not become that cynical, jaded, and otherwise desensitized.