Apparently race is the story in both stories. The VT killer was racially disciminated against when he was in high school, mocked for his Korean accent, among other things.
Oh, he's still responsible for his actions, but he is not responsible for the world around him that he was required to respond to.
Here is a little something from Langston Hughes:
A Dream Deferred
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over-- l
ike a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
Apparently there are times when it does explode.
The two main stories (unless you are mourning the downfall of Sanjaya) have to do with violence against college students.
The first story is the Imus story. The second is Virginia Tech. Both involve violence against college students.
I think it would appropriate to say that the phsyical violence at Virginia Tech is worse. I really think that few people would argue with that. However, setting the kinds of violence done in each situation into a hierarchy would tempt people to dismiss the importance of the Imus story.
At Tech, the killer is dead and will not kill again. No one debates what he did as being wrong. It's a terrible story with no advocates for the killer. People are united.
The problem with the Imus story is that the person who did the violence is still on the loose. People are not united against him. There are actually people going to bat for this guy. The extent to which he is seen as getting away with the kinds of things he says is the extent to which dehumanizing behavior is acceptable.
The difference between the violence Imus did against the Rutgers women's basketball team and the violence done against Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff is only in degree.
This might sound overly dramatic, but I am afraid the VT story will drown out the attention given to the the racism problem in America. I fear that we will start to believe that the main problem in America and college campuses is people gunning other people down. It's not.
Although the VT story is more intense, it is extremely isolated and rare. Imus kinds of stuff happens every single day.
We should mourn and grieve the deaths at VT and we should take our time doing it. But we should have some tears for the state of race and rhetoric in America as well.