Dick gets to write a comment piece about the Virginia Tech shooting spree and manages to say nothing at all:-
The massacre at Virginia Tech is one of those archetypal stories from the US: a lone gunman, the lives he cruelly curtailed, the shattered calm of a student campus. But archetypes are often as misleading as they are enduring.
Yes, gun crime is horrific in America. It is eight years since the rampage at Columbine High School. But the majority of gun violence here is no different from shootings in Britain. One of the biggest stories I covered as a trainee reporter in Brighton was a shotgun murder on a Saturday afternoon on the streets of a housing estate. It was, thankfully, a rare event. Just as mass shootings are today in the US.
It’s all too easy for outsiders to believe American life is bristling with guns; that every school is patrolled by armed guards, that the elderly sleep with loaded guns under their pillows. In parts, that’s true. There are vastly more guns in the US, and more shootings, than in Britain. However, that’s not the America most Americans know. For British visitors, these stereotypes are particularly hard to shake off. We know just enough about the US to think we know it all.
But the overwhelming mood on American campuses is of innocence – even idealism. Not cynicism, and certainly not violence. A couple of years ago there was much introspection about hazing ceremonies in college fraternities and sororities. They involved enormous consumption of alcohol and some life-threatening activity like swimming at night in the ocean. There are tragic cases where individual students die while being hazed. But what struck me, as a British expat in America, is that the real danger was excessive drinking – and in that sense, it was little different from the regular Saturday-night drinking in most college bars in Britain.
But mostly it’s booze and hijinks and a few deaths, yep everything sounds fine there Dick.
Thus the shock at Virginia Tech. There are hardened TV crime analysts who are in tears, even on the second day of this story. Clint Van Zandt, my colleague on the MSNBC news network, is an FBI veteran who normally illuminates the most gruesome crimes with cold-eyed expertise. Today he choked up on air as he described students hugging each other in grief.
Random violence for students in Britain generally comes in the form of a beating, or worse – a slashing – as they spill out of pubs. Such violence is far more prevalent in Britain than it is in the US. The same is true of property crime. For most middle-class Americans, burglaries and car theft are exceptionally rare; not so in Britain’s major cities.
I sense almost glee in his description of the violence and misery others must undergo but absolutely no empathy for the victims. Gosh it must be great to be an elite geisha, insulated from the peasants.
Unless you live in the wrong part of town. Which means, in many cases, living in the African-American or Latino part of a city. There are neighbourhoods in my home city, Washington DC, where my friends leave their front doors unlocked and their children leave their expensive bikes on the streets overnight. You could drive 10 minutes away to a mixed or black neighbourhood to find bars on every window, and a murder rate that rivals Johannesburg.
A campus in small-town Virginia should never experience such violence. No campus should. If the massacre had taken place at one of America’s historic black universities, the shock would have been similar. But the daily gun violence in black neighbourhoods across the US is just as shocking. That it has become a regular part of the news cycle makes it all the more appalling.
Thank God he is safe in rich white punditville and remembering to express some cod horror at dead brown people, because he’s certainly not racist or anything.
Monday’s killings have briefly revived the debate about America’s gun laws – a debate that has all but died in the Bush years. With the terrible echoes of Columbine, the Virginia Tech murders have prompted a slew of stories that recall the 1990s debate about closing loopholes and background checks. Yet much has changed in US politics over the last decade. President Bush would never push gun control as President Clinton did. National Democrats have also shied away from the problem, after hearing from their colleagues in conservative and rural districts that the issue was political suicide.
Gun control is important, but it would not stop gun violence in the US today. There are simply too many guns in circulation. For 30 years, Washington DC has imposed a ban on handguns, in the nation’s toughest gun laws. Yet gun violence is a fact of life in the three-quarters of the city that is blighted by drugs, poverty and racial separation.
Gun crime can decline in the US, with better policing, tougher sentencing of repeat offenders, and less poverty. But you can’t take the guns out of American life, and you can never really stop another Virginia Tech. After the tears dry in Blacksburg there will still be gun violence in America.-
This is the essence of Dick he tries to be everything to everyone, hmm some gun control, but not really and it won’t change anything because there will be more massacres, but America is not really as violent as that. One day he might say something without equivocating, it will be stupid he is a moron after all, but at least he might take a position and not contradict himself immediately after. Or better still he could shut the fuck up the talentless snob.