There has been a lot of public mourning across America this past week in response to an event at Virginia Tech that has spawned a media frenzy. The amount of attention that this shooting has garnered took me by surprise as day after day the talking heads on commercial television and talk radio could talk of nearly nothing else. Even public radio devoted much coverage to the event, albeit more insightful. Here are two clips that I enjoyed:
Despite the second clip in relation to my previous blog post, I will venture to comment on the subject of killing. I wake up to public radio on a daily basis. A daily basis that often includes news like “30 died yesterday when a car bomb”, etc. Having become accustomed to such news, I had expected this specific event to blow over like all the rest. To date, no one at my work has mentioned it, no one at zazen, and a friend of mine who has no TV did not know about it until my wife told him. Despite this, it actually was a big to-do. I am not as concerned with the event itself—which was fucked up—as I am with the media circus and national mourning that has sprung up around this event; as if these deaths were more significant than those anywhere else in the world. To me it says that we are still very much a society of tribal identification as opposed to world-centric global empathy.
Ironically, I was going to write the following before this event had even happened: While walking home, perhaps when approaching my intersection where a dentist was shot dead last year, I had the thought that the most important things in life are to grow and to have experiences. Anything that interferes with ones ability to grow or to have experiences is, from this world view, bad. Nothing interferes with these two goals as much as death, and so, causing the death of another person, either intentionally, or not, is the worse thing that one could do. If someone does not share this worldview of growth (evolution of consciousness, improvement of ability, etc.) or having experiences (having fun, etc.), then they are under no obligation to avoid causing death. However, if the majority of society does hold this world view, they should pass and enforce laws that limit one’s ability to take another person’s life. Taking your own life under this system is perfectly acceptable because it in no way infringes on someone else’s rights. Limiting the ability to take another person’s life would mean outlawing driving, guns, bombs, and industrial processes that lead to an increased chance of death or sickness. I suppose they would also want to treat others in such a way as to encourage them to hold this world view, to invite them to the party of growing and having experiences.
Well, anyways, it’s just a thought filled with slippery slopes; I don’t see us getting rid of cars any time soon.