32 students died on their university campus today. When it began, I was sitting down for a class about dialog and it's role in resolving international conflict. I find the contrast between these two events disorienting. In writing about this event, I can't possibly say anything that could address the pain of those immediately affected there at Virginia Tech. All I know about what occurred is the brief news story that appeared on Norwegian television today, and the first article that appeared when I brought up CNN. It was the only American news source I could think of when I saw the news on my friend's tv menu. She only turned it on to find out about the SK Brann football game today. After we understood what was happening she turned on the news program just in time to see the story.
I can only respond to such a thing in my own personal way. That I am so greatly affected by it is as surprising and shocking to me as the actual event. I'm also disturbed by how meta I am about the whole thing. At the same time as I was feeling ill reading about the experiences of the students who were only peripherally affected – that is, those who were not in the dorm or the classroom, but were still frightened by the gunshots and the police presence – I was also comparing the Norwegian and American coverage. The short clip of President Bush speaking seemed to be the best speech I had ever heard him give. The CNN article quoted the part of the speech relating to God and prayers for the families, where as NRK showed the part of the speech where he discussed the tragedy of this violence. Also, the footage from the scene seemed gruesome to me, even though it only showed police running and gunshots could be heard.