For many people I've talked with in the last day, some of the confusion, horror, and shock has made way for anger. Mostly, of course, anger at the killer. But also, anger at campus police. Anger at the media. Anger at health care providers. Anger at bad leads. Anger at slow response times. Anger at ineffectual technologies. Anger at the killer's parents. Who is to blame? How can we create a narrative that has some semblance of order? Anger makes sense. Anger lessens the chaos. Anger brings noise to deafening silences.
A friend last night suggested to me that all who have hindered access to good mental health care have blood on their hands. Students in my creative writing class, many of whom are education majors, expressed anger at campus administrators who failed to keep a place of learning safe. Students in my comp class were angry with reporters on the VT campus who were looking for tears and other marketable images. And I'm angry that both guns were purchased legally after a court deemed the killer an "imminent danger." And I'm angry that despite that fact, talking heads on tv will claim that only guns purchased illegally bring violence and destruction. And I'm angry at the heavy rotation of the "multi-media manifesto" or whatever NBC's calling it ("We sat on it all day" while authorities looked at the video, says an NBC exec, defending his journalistic ethics. Wow, all day...and it just happened to be during prime time when you decided it was appropriate to "break the story.")
I don't know what anger will accomplish. I don't know when feelings of peace will be possible. One of my students on Tuesday referenced the Amish country shooting from last year and expressed admiration for the forgiveness that the Amish community expressed so quickly. I suppose that paradoxes will continue to be part of our collective consciousness. And I agree with Nels that maybe words can accomplish something...even something small. That *maybe* words (angry words, words that ask questions, words that build identifications with others) can be healthy or helpful.