As America reacted in stunned disbelief, and we tried to come in terms with this useless tragedy - I was already hearing jarring notes. Fox focused too much on the "Asian" part, conservative politicians sprang on to the defence of the second amendment (that's the section which gives Americans the right to carry guns) and I heard someone talking about why we are not equally upset over hundred times more American deaths in Iraq. Then, later in the day, people from India expressed surprise that why it is such a big deal, when America has such an easy access to guns and just stopped short of calling me a hypocrite for being so upset, when I apparently did not care for poor people dying over there.
Well folks, people losing lives anywhere is sad. However, one has to understand the perspective. We may or may not support the war in Iraq - but the brave soldiers sent there had little say in that matter. And when they are in a war ravaged (again, its immaterial for the present context whose creation this war is) area, they are faced with the inherent danger of getting hit by a gunshot. It is almost a part of their jobs. Unfortunately, in an academic institution , students and faculty are not expecting that. That's why people were more shocked by this, which doesn't translate into any disrespect for anyone else. It was just a coincidence the guy was indeed Asian - his racial identity has as little to do with the entire episode as its settings - it could easily have been any campus town any where in the country. That is the real scary part - we all in academia can identify with the settings, and that's why the grief is so personal. Faceless strangers die everyday around the world, and as long as we can not identify with them, they remain just a sad piece of statistics in news stories. This was so real - we go to similar classrooms everyday, in similar surroundings - and now we would always be scared that some frustrated soul may just empty a gun at us. After all, those are embarrassingly easy to get - and I do not see that changing in near future.
Such a wastage. So meaningless.