Thursday, March 13, 2008

Violence in US college campuses

So one may wonder why one more post on this subject. And from some one in India. Is there not enough violence in India to write about? Of course there is. But can I deny that there are many stories that have been in the public eye and have dominated the collective consciousness of many over the last year? Virginia Polytechnic Institute, University of Northern Illinois, etc.. The reason to respond to this is that so many of us have actually spent some years in campuses such as this. It is very sad to see such events. But many questions to pop to one's mind which is of a universal kind. The question that is asked is "how could something like this happen here?" The question is whether it is really possible to have an isolated subsystem that is totally out of contact with the rest of society. One would agree that with the launch of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the USA has become the largest purveyor of violence. In order to carry out wars like these, one has to degrade human life day in and day out. Degrade it here because the recepients of the violence are the Taliban. Degrade it there because they are Sunni extremists. And so on. Now in such an atmosphere, if guns are plentiful, what is the outcome when there are those who are on the edge of insanity? The results are there for everyone to see. There have been other sad stories about University campuses. The murder of two students in Louisiana, another at Duke University, yet another in Scranton, PA, all of Indian origin. These were young men just as I was when I got there and so I can see my own image there. Then there is the sad story of the young women in southern USA. One at Auburn University and the other at University of North Carolina. The second one was 22. I could not help noticing that she was born a few days before the demise of Meera at Philadelphia, in practically the same circumstances. Is it inequity that has caused such violence? If this is the purported reason, then it would be an insult to all those milliions and billions of poor and needy who are as gentle and non-violent as it can get. What is it then? Of course in the era of globalization we are not very far behind. There is that sad story in Gurgaon of a kid being killed by his class mates. And these were not the poor. This was in a fancy `international' school. The reason to bring up all this is to think about how to make the world secure for `our children'. If any one thinks that they can simply make it safe for their children without thinking about the children of others, then it will be just a pipe dream.

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