scared? No. outraged? Yes.

As I was walking back to my office from lunch I was stopped by a guy from the local news radio, who asked me if I was “scared to be on a college campus” following the shootings at Virginia Tech. My response was pretty succinct: “Whu? No.” He pressed, “You’re not scared?” And I said, “No.” Just like that. After a few more volleys, I said that I had just moved here from New York where there was a pervasive, daily sense of threat, and sorry but I can’t live scared anymore. “You’ve got to live your life. If something happens, you deal with it.”
As I was walking back from the encounter, I felt really cheesed off. What the hell kind of a question is that, “Are you scared?” I could get hit by a bus tomorrow, or shot in traffic, or struck by lightning, or just drop dead because some hitherto unnoticed portion of my body decided it was the day to go. Any of those is as likely, or more likely, than having some madman with a gun attack this campus. Am I scared? No. Being scared is counter-productive. (Which is not to say that I don’t get out of bed some days with a bone-numbing terror living in my heart and mind – most of my days in New York, in fact, even pre-9/11 – but what good is giving in to the bone-numbing terror when I have to grab as much life as I can before the end? I feel fear a lot of the time, and I challenge anyone in today’s world to say that they don’t, but there’s living beyond the fear and there’s wallowing in the fear mongering that cripples our community.)
Why wasn’t the question, “Are you outraged at the state of gun control (or lack thereof) in this country, or lack of gun education, or the perpetuation of the culture of violence that glorifies war and killing in song, story, movie, and TV news?” Why wasn’t the question, “How do you think we can work for change so that something like this is less likely to happen again, here or anywhere?” Because obviously we’ve been unsuccessful so far in preventing shooting after shooting, in schools or on the streets. (Ok, I know the reason – because most of the media outlets in this country aren’t about working for change or even accurately reporting news or informing people of events. Nevertheless.)
I’m sure that the guy found some folks to be obligingly full of fear and worry over the breaching of their ivory tower existence, especially since campus is crawling with prospective students and parents today. It’s a shame, though, that the ‘news’ is about perpetuating the fear. Fear breeds further violence, and that is no fitting memorial to anyone who has died.

One thought on “scared? No. outraged? Yes.”

  1. Rev. Keri,
    Thank you for this today. You had good questions in response. I am progressing through your postings, I love your Birthday reflections!

    This is a great site! Why havent I visited before? It probably needed to be in my attention today!

    Love, love, love,

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