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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    We Reap What We Sow: Virginia Tech to Algiers

    Normalcy has been turned completely on its head once again. In the last week we have witnessed several events that I have written about and I sincerely wish they did not happen. In my article ‘The Broken Glass,’ I had written ‘the youth of this nation are in an active revolt against society as a whole,’ and are ‘becom[ing] so alienated from each other and isolated from the greater society that [they] don’t quite understand where they fit in. They struggle to rebel against everything and everyone, which [will lead] to further Columbines’hellip;’ I just wish this hadn’t come true. But unfortunately all the signs were there and still are.

    The Virginia Tech Massacre, now recognized as the worst campus massacre in American history, is an extreme example of the perilous nature of American culture. There is an obsession with death and a belief that situations such as this one ‘can’t happen to us.’ However, there may be hundreds or thousands of Cho Seung-Hui’s in this society. We should also remember the fact that in the United States around 30,000 people a year are killed through gun violence. There are obviously many individuals who have specific grievances with institutions or individuals within them and they go over the edge. We can see this pervasive behavior in the bullying and bullied, in rampant sexual abuse, or other forms of anti-social behavior. Shootings are merely an extreme form of this violence.

    Though the details are sketchy, it seems Seung-Hui fit the standard depiction of a school shooter. Seung-Hui’s neighbor, Abdul Shash, said he was ‘very quiet’ and ‘always by himself.’ He further stated that Seung-Hui ‘played basketball and wouldn’t respond if someone greeted him.’ ABC news reported, ‘Cho returned to his own dorm room after the initial shootings, where he re-armed himself and took the time to write a ‘disturbing note’ before heading to Norris Hall.’ The Chicago Tribune reported that in the note he seethed about the ”rich kids’ and ‘debauchery’ and ‘deceitful charlatans’ on campus.’

    I had also written in an article titled, ‘The End of Impunity,’ that the ‘Iraqi resistance has effectively ruined the United States‘ credibility,’ and that the ‘main Algerian Islamist group’hellip; has recently joined the al Qaeda movement.’ Since I had written those words al Qaeda in Iraq has launched the first suicide bombing in the Green Zone targeting the Iraqi parliament. In Algeria, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb launched one of the most devastating attacks on the country in years, killing 24 people and wounding 222. They were targeting a government palace, a police barracks, and an Interpol headquarters. In Morocco there were also attempts at bombings, but they failed to reach their targets and detonated too early wounding many civilians and killing the suicide bombers.

    These events were easily predictable events but were ignored by most of the Western media. People reacted with justified horror, but irrational stupefaction. These are only logical occurrences from the events of the last few years. Al Qaeda is now a reality in daily life. British journalist Robert Fisk wrote, ‘Nuclear scientists invented the atom bomb. What would have been the point of arresting all the scientists afterwards? The bomb existed. Bin Laden created al-Qa’ida. The monster was born.’ The only path forward is to deal with the problem logically, not with an endless escalation of violence.

    American military and political credibility is already ruined. Insurgent leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi stated that ‘The fear of the American Marines has disappeared from the hearts of the people of the world, as the mujahadeen have become thousands from the few they were after the fall of the infidel Baath regime.’ Now that this fear is gone, it is time to look at the world realistically and begin to alleviate the wounds.

    These two situations may seem completely different but I believe they are representative of a grave trend in domestic and international affairs. The similarities may appear tenuous and to some degree they are. But what is similar is that people don’t care about dying any longer. American culture has driven its own citizens to such alienation that massacres are common place and its driven citizens of other nations to look at suicide as a means of liberation. I don’t claim to have the solution to all of these problems but I do believe [and I do not find solace in religion] that we reap what we sow.

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