Nation numb to threat of disastrous violence in wake of tragic anniversaries

Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre in Blacksburg.

Of course, you wouldn’t have known it around here.

Perhaps the largest reminders of that fateful day are the LED signs adorning the walls of many classrooms and buildings around the Wichita State campus.

Beyond that, little has been done, both here and abroad, to honor the deceased after the initial shock of what transpired.

And one must not forget that today marked the nine-year anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colo., and the Oklahoma City bombing took place 13 years ago Saturday.

There has been limited media attention on such anniversaries. Some news organizations have given each event some consideration, but it has seemed the coverage has been localized to the areas where the tragedies initially took place.

This lack of national exposure could be attributed to a variety of reasons. It could be because larger news events, such as the pope visiting the United States, are taking place that overshadow an anniversary of a tragedy.

Or perhaps national media outlets have peered into the hearts and minds of Americans and saw something.

People don’t seem to care anymore.

In a time when learning institutions at all levels have ratcheted up security and methodologies to respond to a crisis, people appear to have become numb to the thought of mass death due to a false sense of security.

The country has been inundated with an egocentric mentality that causes no one to worry until it happens at home and directly affects what is held dear.

Is this why only two news organizations, the student newspaper of Virginia Tech, The Collegiate Times, and The Roanoke Times, heavily covered the massacre’s anniversary?

When the shooting in Blacksburg first took place, media swarmed to the dreadful scene to cover it, and people across the country took steps to show support for the victims and their families.

Now everything has calmed down, so with no impending death and destruction, it doesn’t merit as much attention.

It’s sad really.

There were 168 lives lost in Oklahoma City, 13 innocents were killed at Columbine and 32 people were killed at Virginia Tech.

Such death tolls are quite striking, yet the numbness seems to persist.

Lessons have been undoubtedly learned, but has one of the most important messages been received?

In the case of both school shootings, the entire catastrophes could have been avoided if someone had simply paid attention and took notice of the disturbed individuals that decided to play God and end the lives of so many of their school mates.

It would have taken only one person to notice them and realize they needed help, and with such actions, mass death would have been avoided.

Learn from this. Shake loose from the mindlessness of not worrying about violence simply because it hasn’t happened near you.

Don’t be lulled into any false sense of security due to the abundance of mechanisms in place that should alert you of impending doom and death.

Digital signs and text messages alerting the masses of problems beseeching the area are great, but it doesn’t need to make it even that far.

Stop violence before it happens. Pay attention to others and help them when needed.
Don’t let the deaths of so many others be in vain.

Learn from the situations and bring about positive change in the lives of others.

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About toddvogts 782 Articles
My name is Todd Vogts. I am an assistant professor of media. I like the color green, riding my motorcycle, and being with my family and friends. A good book is a perfect companion for me any time, and I'm a published author and journalist. Visit my website at and follow me on Twitter at