Calculated Response, Part 3
Almost a year ago, while my blog was still in its infancy, I issued an indictment against the responses I saw to what happened at Virginia Tech that past week. Now that we’ve gained some perspective on the event, I don’t think much has changed. Now, in some ways, those earlier words are dated. Fred Thompson had his shot at the Presidency, and it didn’t happen. Life goes on.
However, the above-documented response was echoed once again in the latest incident of college violence. This time, it was only one girl, Eve Carson. However, if anything, having one person as the focal point for all the attention makes her easier to rally around than a number of people who all might have done great things, but won’t.
Over the past weeks, I’ve variously been asked to “wear Carolina blue to honor Eve Carson’s memory” and to do likewise to, I am not making this up, “take a stand”. The first request is a manifold problem, given that not only do I have no Carolina blue clothing, but I have no memories of Eve Carson. The second request is so patently ridiculous that it’s probably best responded to in my father’s words: “Oh, yeah, the criminals will really think twice when they know you’ll change your wardrobe in response to violence.”
On the other hand, I’d like to think that I’m taking a stand, here, in these pages, especially with these more seriously-toned essays. But I’ve never taken a stand in any local public forum, because I don’t think it’ll do much good. Take the local student newspaper, for example. Following Eve Carson’s death, they printed a sidebar that listed a student’s options for self-defense on campus, which pretty much extend to folding batons and no further. I’m sure they thought they were helping the community, but they were also providing authoritative documentation for anyone who wanted on exactly how defenseless students are on campus.
So why don’t I write them a letter to the editor? Maybe even a guest editorial? Because it wouldn’t actually change anything. There is a mindset, a way of not just thinking, but living, where the best response to a criminal with a gun is to have a moment of silence. This is a mindset that casts aside actually effective solutions in favor of things that are easily accomplished and instill a sense of piousness.
You can’t change a mindset with a letter. On the other hand, I do what I can to advocate for calculated responses in long-term discussions that have the potential to shift one’s mindset, such as the Society meetings I attend whenever possible. I’m not sure if I’ll ever actually win any of them over to my way of thinking, but at least I can make them consider it.
And maybe one day, they too will be disappointed in the fact that the best that college can do to try and secure their campus is to increase police patrols. Maybe we should let people protect themselves, instead?