Yesterday, Virgina Tech witnessed the largest mass murder the United States has seen in resent history. The national media went wild with the coverage of the event.
Cho Seung-hui, a 23-year-old English major from South Korea, has been identified as the suspect who shot and killed 32 people before his life was taken.
The Virgina Tech web site has done a great job posting information for students and for family and others. The site has listed Podcasts of University President Steger speaking as well as the Police Chief, the State Medical Examiner, and State Secretary of Public Safety .
The number of media outlets that had information and eyewitness accounts surprised me. KDWB, a local Twin Cities hip-hop radio station, had students and local college aged people calling in and reporting on what they had heard from family members and friends who were there. My problem with this is that much of what these sources were reporting was hearsay. I think that in the crush to be the first with something new, these outlets are being irresponsible. They are only adding to the confusion and miss information of the public.
CNN.com has, per usual, covered their home page with bits of information from a myriad of sources. These little bits sometimes overlap, becoming redundant.
But one instance that has really surprised me was that the cover of our own Minnesota Daily carried a photo of the University Sailing Team on Lake Minnetonka and a story about the University elections. They buried the story on page 6.
I think this situation is one that disserved a front-page spot not to be hidden behind trivial things such as the sailing team and a possible change to the tenant policy. This issue is real here and now and needs to be talked about in open forums for students, faculty, and the public. We need to ask why this tragedy has happened and what can be taken from it.
It might be too early to talk about such matters and there might be many unanswered questions, however in time we might be able to keep catastrophes such as this from happening.