Wednesday, April 18, 2007

what to say?

It's been a surreal few days. Sunday a neighbor reported on a mugging in the neighborhood--no one was hurt, but the mugger waved a gun and that's always scary. Monday I came in to the office and one of the women who works in my building told me a dreadful story of a pickup truck driver run amuk. Twice the guy nearly killed her, speeding and running red lights. Looks like he might have killed someone else instead. Then of course the news came from VA Tech. Because I live in a cave, I didn't hear until mid-afternoon, when a friend walked in to my office and said, "So, we're not ever sending our kids to college, right?" But here we are on a college campus, a campus not that far from Blacksburg, a campus --like Tech's-- noted for its safety, its security.

We are not safe. We mostly don't think about how not safe we are, because if we did we'd be paralyzed. So we do what we need to in order to protect ourselves --get out of the way of the speeding truck, choose the lighted streets and a couple of companions when we're walking home, park under a streetlight, lock the doors-- and then we try to forget why we're doing it. Every now and then we are reminded.

In Blacksburg everyone's been reminded, just as in Baghdad, Darfur, and Chad, everyone's been reminded. Just as we were reminded in 2001, and again on New Year's day 2006. It's not a safe world. But if we act on fear, if we allow it to take over, we allow ourselves to be diminished. The stories that I have most wanted to read from Iraq and Darfur have been about ordinary people living their lives --NPR did a lovely one by an Iraqi translator whose wife was pregnant, for example (sorry, can't find a link). They live their lives.

Jo(e)'s candles help. The student reporters at VA Tech help. Teaching, and talking, and writing, help.


mom said...

See Dad's blog of today!

Lilian said...

Sorry to hear about the gun in your neighborhood -- it seems such a peaceful place!

It was great seeing you again!