It is vaguely surreal to watch coverage of “The Blacksburg Murders” on an Australian tv station in Vietnam. I’ve been following the stories since ten minutes after they posted the first one – I might have been half way around the world, but thanks to the internet I knew about it before my family back in Virginia did. How shocked I was to see “Virginia Tech shootings” on my google homepage!
This is the first time I have seen any tv coverage, just a few minutes ago. The coverage and criticism on gun use in the United States, particularly in Virginia, was bitterly entertaining.
Their misinformation and a surprising lack of knowledge regarding U.S. culture and geography was also noted.
My Vietnamese roommate told me that they talked about this in class. This sparked a conversation based around speculation that this was “normal in the United States.” Apparently there was a student in the class that made the argument that such violence was an everyday occurrence in the U.S., and he wasn’t the only one who thought that.
On an interesting Vietnamese cultural note, one of the first things my roommate said about this whole thing is,”If that happened in Vietnam, the parents of the boy who killed the victims would not be able to avoid the bad talk about them.” His family is Asian. Not to generalize on countries with Confucian influences, but I’m sure they feel that way, I am sure even his cousins and other distant relatives back in South Korea are appalled at the act, and shame brought on their family. (Read about “the world’s reaction” here)
I am so relived to not recognize any of the names of the victims. I was scared I was going to see the names of the people I ate lunch with, the people I joked with and did school projects with. Not that it makes it any better, really. Just less personal. That’s a connection I’d rather not make. Regardless, I have periodically been close to tears whenever I check the news on it.
I think I am glad to be away from the constant media barrage and the shock and gossip that always surrounds such things in the States.