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« American Idol Results Recap, Wednesday, April 18: Rollin, Rollin, Rollin, Get Sanjaya Rollin' - GOODBYE!! | Main | What We Focus On, We Become »

Thursday, April 19, 2007

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Linda,
Don't be so hard on yourself. I too- feel very sad for the families and the kids at school who are no longer going to see another day. But I can agree with you- it hits closer to home, because it is home (USA). But as you said- Iraq is "Iraq is far, far away – in some ways, it may as well be another planet, light years away from my quiet suburban home". But it doesn't make us any less heartless, because we don't think about it on a everyday basis (unless we have someone in the military).

I think we should tell our loveones at home, that we love them everyday. Show in small ways also, how much we care. Its the little things in life, right??

Lori, thank you for setting some things straight. I'm with you 100%. Yes, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but in the face of overwhelming evidence that one's course of action has been DEAD WRONG, one needs to stand back, admit one was wrong, and take the necessary steps to right the wrong. Let's hope that happens soon.

go TJ! God bless George W. Bush and America! Even if you dont like your president, please respect the office.

Hey TJ - I was wondering where you were in this conversation! Nothing like political differences to get people steamed...but it's good to see people caring, no matter what "side" they're on!

Sis, I apologize for getting a little steamed. I enjoy your Blog immensely. But in the words of a great movie,"Stupid is as stupid does". Love you T.J.

While I am a huge proponent of healthy debate, vigorous discussion, and open mindedness - some of the discussions in the comments are beginning to wander far afield.

Everyone is completely entitled to their opinions, thoughts, passions, and viewpoints - but having them does not automatically make one person right and another person wrong.

It simply makes us individuals.

I would like to ask that the conversation be steered back to solid debate, and that the "hollering", name calling, and demeaning language stop.

It does not advance an understanding of a person's viewpoint any more than a car bomb or backpack full of C4. It just drowns out the voices of the people who disagree.

I do not want to turn the comment feature off - I am constantly impressed at the thoughtfulness and honesty expressed by the readers at Don't Get Me Started.

Let's keep it going that direction.

Linda Sharp

Thanks Jacquie, I'm glad to see that there are some real Americans left!

Lori, you prove what I said in everything you say! First, I never called you a name. But I will now! You are STUPID! Your education on this matter comes only from what you watch on mainstream media. All of which, except FOX, hate President Bush! My education comes from experience in the United States Marine Corps. Working in INTELLIGENCE! I still have many friends that are serving.
Now, you stated that Hussein had nothing we said he had. Really? Tell that to the Kurds that he gased with lethal mustard gas. A weapon of mass destruction. It has been proven that he was pursueing nuclear weapons. He didn't have anything to do with terrorism? He harbored members of Al Qaeda. He paid families of suicide bombers. And he thumbed his nose at the UN on every level.
Just because countries like France are to cowardly to fight is proof that Bush did the right thing! Remember WWII, France wanted to keep talking to Hitler until he Marched through their country. And then it was "Please help us".
All those smoke and shadows that are killing Iraqis and our soldiers and Marines. Pretty deadly for shadows. Don't you think? I have said it before. If we don't fight them there. We WILL be fighting them HERE! And then you will be crying that Bush did not do enough! Why don't you talk to the Soldiers and Marines who keep requesting to go back to Iraq. It is because they beleive in what they are doing. And more importantly, unlike people like you, they are not cowards! You remind me of John Cleese on "The Holy Grail" at the first sign of trouble, "Holy Shit, RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY!"
Look back at what Bush said in the beginning. "It will be a long and difficult war." As far as Fox News goes. Why is it that FOX is the only network who is not afraid to give both sides a fair shake. Every other network will only put people on that reflects the veiw of the network. LEFT LEFT LEFT!
And just to put some education in your head. Do you really think that all those Combat troops sitting in Iraq are there for Iraq? No, they are there because of IRAN. I suppose that Iran poses no threat either? Reality, Lori, Reality!

Amen TJ. There may not be many on here that agree with you, but I am not ashamed to say that I do.

TJ, it's truly unfortunate that you felt that you had to resort to childish and immature name-calling in an attempt to get your view across. It cheapens your opinion and makes you look like a fool.

The war in Iraq is not a war against terrorism. Sadaam Hussein had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks on the United States. The "facts" we were given as reasons to invade Iraq have been proven to be false - on all levels. It has also been proven that the Administration was aware that their intelligence was faulty, even before the invasion began.

There is a huge difference between our invasion of Afghanistan and our invasion of Iraq. We were 100% correct in sending our troops to Afghanistan - it has been proven that the Taliban harbored al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, along with funding their operations and providing weapons, training grounds and "soldiers" to their cause. The Taliban was, in many ways, as responsible for 9/11 as al-Qaeda and bin Laden.

This is not so with Iraq. There has been no proof that Sadaam Hussein was involved in any way with the attacks on the United States. While he certainly was a very bad man and an evil, vicious ruler, he was not a part of al-Qaeda. No, he didn't condemn them, but neither did many countries in the Middle East, who still quietly support Osama's actions. Should we invade them all? Who should we start with - Iran? Syria? Who's next on your list, TJ? Do you think we should just get it over with now and nuke 'em all? Would the world be a better place?

The "intelligence" we were given that implied Hussein was hiding weapons of mass desctruction was wrong - completely wrong. Hussein was not making nukes, had not made any nukes, and didn't have the capability to even start making nukes... and yet President Bush told us again and again that this was his chief reason for invading that country. I remember watching him on TV in 2003, and he scared me half crazy... he had me firmly convinced that Sadaam Hussein was planning to drop a dirty bomb right into my backyard. Go back and watch some of those Presidential Addresses from the start of the war, TJ. The guy was intentionally shifting us all into panic mode. And it worked... for a while.

Not long after the invasion, it began to come out that the "intel" was in doubt from the start. As a matter of record - and fact - all of the reasons we, as U.S. citizens, were given for the invasion have proven wrong. Now we're are engaged (and mired) in a war we never should have started, for reasons that never existed, that the rest of the world does not support, and that our President refuses to end.

You talk to me as if I were stupid, TJ. I assure you that I am far from it. I am educated. I read a lot. I watch the news. I pay attention. Even as late as 2004, I believed in the Iraq War and in President Bush -- I wanted to believe in him because I couldn't bring myself to think that we could possibly have been lied to. So I voted for him - again.

President Bush lied. And if you think he didn't, then you haven't been paying attention -- or you've been watching Fox News.

The war in Afghanistan was a war against terror - and now we're falling behind and slipping because of the stress of the useless war in Iraq. The war in Iraq is not a war against terror. It was an impulsive act of a man with dismal, greedy advisors and a taste of too much power.

I'm 100% behind fighting terrorism where it lies. But I stand proudly AGAINST fighting shadows and smoke that pose no threat. I stand proudly AGAINST the killing and maiming of our American troops in a war which should never have been engaged. Sadaam Hussein was nothing but a smoky shadow who threatened only his own unfortunate citizens.

We were wrong to invade.

Well Lori, you really need to come back to reality! This "futile" war we are fighting is the most important war we have ever fought. With the exception of WWII. It truly sickens me to hear people like you spout such stupidity. President Bush DID NOT LIE! The intelligence was the same that Clinton, Blair, and all the rest of the world had. The difference is Bush has a back bone! He took action when nobody else would. And I would bet all the money that I will ever make for the rest of my life, that YOU are the type of person who would scream "You knew and you didn't do anything" If Bush had not taken Hussien out and then we got hit again.
You really need to study history and the type of monsters we are fighting! This country is what it is today because we have never backed down to evil. Bush does what is right, regardless of public opinion. On the other hand, Clinton tucked his tail and ran from Somalia after losing less then a dozen service men. And now look at that country. Gee, what exactly did those guys die for? Oh that's right, Clinton needed something to take the heat off of the Monica "lies".
As for this loon at VT. It hurts more when it happens here because it is not suppose to happen here. The only reason this horror has gotten the press time that it has is because the number of dead is so high. And that leads to another sad point. We are breeding the fight right out of our younger generations. It is sad to say, but these "young adults" not kids, would rather hide under a desk and be shot then try to defend themselves. One of the students even said that they could have jumped him when he was reloading, but they just hoped he would go away.
As far as your spirit goes, Lori, you have to have spirit before it can die. Turning away from evil and hoping that it will just go away is the best way for it to run right over you!

That's all I've been doing all year. Check out "Dreams From My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope" - and there are a few other books dealing specifically with Obama's political record and his voting record since being elected to the Senate. His website also has a lot of information.

Originally, I was leaning toward John McCain... but not anymore, after educating myself about Barack Obama. I sincerely believe he is our BEST hope right now. He doesn't sit back and complain... the man has solid, feasible plans.

If you read any book at all in the next few months, please read "The Audacity of Hope." It is inspiring and uplifting. I lost track of the times that book have me serious goosebumps - for the first time, I am excited about the possibilities in our country. Too many years of Bush's doom and gloom and lies killed my spirit.

Check out Mr. Obama. You won't be disappointed.

There will be some serious research going on here before any votes are cast this time, I promise you!

Sandy -

Two words:

Barack Obama

Thanks Lori - I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. This next Presidential election will hopefully bring more honorable leadership but only time will tell.

Sandy in NC,

Because our President has decided that we, as citizens, are not allowed to see the flag-draped coffins. We, as citizens, are not allowed to question his decisions or his Administration. We, as citizens, must simply go along with what he decrees like good little ignorant sheep.

And if we dare to speak out and ask to see our fallen soldiers, ask to see our maimed soldiers, ask for the truth about this war and demand that our troops be brought home... well, if we dare to do that, we are called "traitors" and "loud-mouths" and "unpatriotic" and we are told to move to Iraq, or told to shut up and go to hell, or told that we should be grateful to live here.

I voted for George W. Bush... voted for him TWICE. And I've never done anything I've regretted more in all of my 42 years.

I guess we are talking about separate issues. I think it is valid to question why hearing about Iraqis dying at the hands of suicide bombers on an almost daily basis does not cut us to the quick like this VT tragedy. Lives are lives and victims are victims. And I agree that the VT massacre being so unexpected and taking place in a supposedly "safe" location are both key. Of course I am not arguing that the lives of the VT students and professors so needlessly lost are not worth mourning. I just question why we do not also - collectively, as a nation - mourn when yet another American soldier or Marine dies. The fact that they volunteered to serve in no way diminishes the loss of another young life. That loss of promise should be honored, as well. This tragedy has shown we are not completely jaded and are capable of caring for victims we do now know personally. Why can't that translate also to our brave men and women who come home in flag-draped coffins?

Agree and BTW - I am American, born and raised, as were my parents and grandparents (ok true confession my mom is Canadian). Just fortunate to have traveled etc. so not raising a foreign point of view, just another point of view.

Rafe, I have thought of your point a hundred times since the carnage began 4 years ago. I think the difference is we have names, faces and amazing stories of promise to go with the tragedy in VA. If we had the same for the Iraqi victims, I think the grief would be the same for many of us... but that would be too overwhelming. I do believe their lives are just as worthy of grief, it's just so hard to comprehend and feels so hopeless.
But don't think for a minute that all American's only value American lives and Iraqi's are lesser. Again, there's only so much sadness we can take...

Suze - you are speaking only about the Americans dying tragically in Iraq. True they volunteered for service, which shouldn't/doesn't lessen the loss of life in this horrible war. But what about the common Iraqi, going to the market to buy food for thier family, or going to work in the morning, or even going to worship only to be killed by a car bomb or suicide bomber? What makes them different than the VT students other than thier life is more likely to be shattered in this way because of where they live?

The biggest difference to me is, our people dying in Iraq went there knowing their mission was dangerous and deadly.

The kids at VT went to college with a mission to learn, not to get killed

Linda,

I read your blog for the Idol recaps (which frequently make me laugh out loud), but occasionally I read some of the other things you post. Although I don't always agree with your point of view, this time I do.

This tragedy is not in my "emotional backyard." It feels like it's in my house.

I live in Virginia, as does my entire immediate family, including my sister and her husband and three children. Two of her children are college students in universities in our state. Neither is enrolled at Virginia Tech, but they have friends who are. The moment I heard about the shootings, my first thoughts were of my niece and nephew, and I hoped and prayed that none of the victims were friends of theirs.

Yesterday morning, the Washington Post published photos and profiles of the people killed in the massacre. To my horror, I discovered that TWO of them were my niece's high school classmates, and one was a close friend, someone she has known since she was a little girl.

I immediately called my sister, who told me she had spent Tuesday with my niece, trying to console her. I had to get off the phone quickly to go in to a meeting with my boss and a consultant we work with. I walked into the meeting and fell apart, sobbing uncontrollably. It was a combination of empathy for my niece coupled with the realization that this could have happened anywhere, on any campus, and she or her brother could have been one of the victims. The horror of that struck me like a sledgehammer.

Mary Alice, you hit the nail on the head when it comes to the fundamental difference between losing our military citizens in an armed conflict and losing students and faculty to the gunfire of a disturbed youth. As tragic as each loss of an American soldier's life is, they do indeed accept the possibility of death in action when they enlist in the armed forces, as does their family. A domestic university, on the other hand, is expected to be a safe and nurturing environment, although those of us who remember the shootings at Kent State University know that this is not always so.

I have a son in his early twenties. If I were sending him off to war, today, it would be with full knowledge that he might not return to me. Whereas, if I were sending him off to a semester at university, that thought would never (and should never) cross my mind.

We are always most startled and most frightened when the expected becomes the unthinkable. In spite of the increased frequency of school shootings (I'm a Coloradan, we're all too aware of the long-reaching effects of school shootings), we have still not come to view them as 'expected'. And God willing, we'll never have to.

And Diane, I agree with you as well. Copycat 'scares' have closed a number of schools here yesterday and today. Administrators don't dare presume they aren't real. Everyone here still lives with the memory of Columbine, as apparently did the VaTech shooter. Cho is not the only disturbed youth to have found Eric and Dylan to be role models.

It's a fine line we walk between making people aware that the possibility of school violence exists, and making anti-heroes of its perpetrators. Yes, the media could show some more responsibility in this regard, but their interest would wane if we the general public refused to pay attention to their coverage.

I've always felt that NONE of these wackos should get the attention they do. That includes the idiots who, in the past few days have tried to terrorize all sorts of other people by leaving notes saying things such as "What happened at VT was nothing compared to what's going to happen here today." I've heard that there have been at least 10 such incidents across the country since Monday. There are several schools closed here in NH today for just such a reason. If there was no news coverage of these incidents, the fools who think that this is a fun game to play would get no satisfaction from it. Let's stop giving them the negative attention they crave.

Mary Alice-

I agree that the use of these images and video has reached critical mass. I am sickened each time I open my homepage and see exactly what surely was those poor students' last image on earth - that sick, methodical, piece of shit RamCho and his gun.

I do not usually shield my children from the news of the world, and they are all very aware of what happened on the campus and the people to which is was done, but I refuse to let them see this blatant abuse of media and their "right to inform".

It is serving no purpose other than to torment the already tormented, and feed the delusions of the already mentally sick who are perilously close to their own "edge".

PS... I usually am not one to call people to public action but I feel very strongly that we should all ask the news media to remove the images of the VA Tech killer and his manifesto from new sources. I believe showing these things allows him the ultimate power.

Cho felt he didn’t have a voice and through his heinous actions, he has now been granted the ability to be heard in homes around the world. I do not believe we should grant him that ultimate power. We should demand it be removed from the news. I don't want my children subjected to the ramblings of madman each time they turn on the TV and I don't want to see the gun he used to massacre his classmates pointed into my face every time I open my homepage.

I also fear that giving him that notoriety and that kind of power might cause some other rage filled voiceless person to believe that this is a plausible way they could achieve a voice as well.

I too am the wife of an American troop. Every time I hear “two soldiers were killed today in roadside bomb” I know that two families have just had to endure the knock at the door that all of us pray will never come at our own door. Two families have been forever changed.

A couple of weeks ago I stood by as a fallen American soldier was brought home to our base and watched his mother’s heartbreaking sobs as his casket was carried from the plane. The pain is palpable.

I understand how difficult this is and yet we are proud of our soldiers for having the courage to face these dangers each and every day. They have VOLUNTEERED to be a part of the military and they signed on the dotted line, knowing full well that they might have to pay the ultimate price. So, though we mourn them and we grieve for the pain the military families endure losing those bright smiles, we also know they did it willingly.

Therein lays the difference with the Virginia Tech students. They simply went to their classes that morning. They were concentrating on education, innocent of any danger. They were in an environment we assume is safe. We mourn for their families, because it was so senseless and so very, very, unexpected.

In my humble opinion, our flags should be flying at half-staff every day our American citizen-soldiers are being killed overseas. Why do the victims of Virginia Tech deserve more respect and attention than our troops?

3000+ American lives lost in Iraq... 3000+ sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives DEAD... families and lives destroyed for a futile war based on lies, misconceptions and misdirection.

An American administration that reeks of dishonesty and hypocrisy.

An American media that refuses to report the REAL news because they're too busy looking for the next "scandal" they can create and hype for ratings boosts and more advertising dollars. Can anyone say "Larry Birkhead"? "Don Imus"? "Britney Spears"? "Paris Hilton"? "Mel Gibson"?

There is, simply, no excuse for this country's apathy. We all need to WAKE THE HELL UP.

Linda: Once again, you are verbalizing my sentiments. A loss of life, regardless of where, should be acknowledged, grieved, etc. The pain of the parent who lost the son or daughter fighting for our country, is no less that that of the parent of one of the VT students who were killed. And like you, I've been watching the video and viewing the pictures of this crazed lunatic, trying to find the answer to WHY this happened, and could it have been prevented? It appears from his rantings, that his hatred was toward rich kids that "have it all" but wasn't HE also going to this university as well? Who was paying his tuition? Is HE a rich kid? Attending college does not mean you are rich. I guess my point is, his killing was random and if his goal was to kill rich kids, I would lay money there are some of those students who might have been paying for their education through student loans. It's how I paid for college - my parents could afford it.
And how is it that a non-citizen (which I read he was) can buy guns? In this country, if someone wants a gun bad enough, they can get it true enough, but why is it so easy to do it legally? Something is wrong with this picture.
One last thing, the universities I guess need to implement some sort of lock-down procedure, that goes into affect immediately (like they do in public schools now). It's a lot harder to do, I realize, since the campus and academic buildings are so spred out. Unfortunately, it's not until something like this happens that we realize the need for it.

Linda, thank you for this great, inspiring article. I was just saying to some friends of mine yesterday how it was funny(?) that anywhere between 10 and 200 people are killed in Iraq on a daily basis, and when 32 people are killed here in the US, it is a national tragedy. But you're right, it wasn't EXPECTED, which is why it was such an emotional shock for us. I read the news everyday and see the scores of peole overseas losing their lives to sadistic suicide bombers, and my heart breaks. But not as much as it did this past Monday. It's good to know there are other people out there who share the same thoughts and feelings. Thanks again.

I agree that with Iraq being so far away, it is easier to feel disconnected. The problem I have is that even when we lose our OWN - America's sons and daughters, there is a disconnect. To so many, this war is an abstract thing. It does not affect people's day-to-day lives. Maybe if we saw pictures and bios on EVERY fallen American servicemember, people would pay attention. "Three soldiers and 1 Marine killed by a roadside bomb in Fallujah today." We hear that every other day and it's just a blip on the news media radar. WHY?! It kills me. Even with my Marine husband here safe next to me - every time I hear the words "Marine dead," it's personal. It could have been my Marine, my friend's Marine, the cute, young 12-year-old-looking boy at the base gate. It's tragic and yet very few Americans are paying attention...

Even this deranged, evil VT shooter has been given more humanity by the constant media coverage. We know more about this lunatic than the countless American casualties. I'm about to boycott the damned "news." Just because that evil pig taped himself and his sick "manifesto" doesn't mean one second of it should be aired, let alone repeatedly on EVERY station. How must the surviving victims feel - having to see that face and again look down the barrel of the gun that shot them? And what about the families of those that died? These news organizations make me sick - in their effort to be the first reporting the "news," they care nothing about the victims. I swear, NBC News seems proud of itself for being chosen the recipient of this pig's bile. ARGH!!!

OK, I'm done ranting...I just wish we'd show more respect for those who have died and been wounded for this country.

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