That didn't stop the White House from reassuring the gun lobby right off the bat:
White House Press Briefing, 4/16/07:
As far as policy, the President believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed. And certainly bringing a gun into a school dormitory and shooting -- I don't want to say numbers because I know that they're still trying to figure out many people were wounded and possibly killed, but obviously that would be against the law and something that someone should be held accountable for.
I'm not sure how anyone's going to be held accountable for this. Cho Seung-hui shot himself. It seems that enforcing the laws we have is a moot point.
Yesterday, Congress observed a moment of silence. Flags are flying at half-mast today. A nation is in mourning.
New York Times:
A suicide car bomber struck Saturday morning near a bus station in Karbala, the holy city that is one of the main pilgrimage destinations for Shiites, killing 36 people, including several children, according to the governor and security officials.
The bombing wounded 168, according to hospital officials, including 44 women and 11 children. The explosion created a scene of carnage that left some people unable to speak when approached by a reporter.
The market area had been busy because it was mid-morning and many families were out shopping, said Abu Haider, 45, who described how he had made his way out of the smoke-filled market after the blast.
"At the market exit, I found human parts and wounded people. I saw bodies eaten by fire," he said.
What the hell's the difference here? Obviously, one happened here and one happened there. But is Virginia Tech worse? I don't think so. This happens in Iraq every goddamned day -- so often that we're tired of hearing about it. Did you hear about the Karbala bombing? Maybe you didn't. It's just one more incidence of violence in a damned violent place. A story like this is almost like a weather report from Iraq.
Or maybe you did and it just went on through your consciousness. You hear about this kind of thing all the time, why would this one be so special?
Iraqis don't have the luxury. When someone's late coming home from school or work, families wonder -- with good reason -- whether that person is dead. There are probably very few people in Iraq who don't know someone who's been a victim of the violence.
Imagine that you lived in a country where Virginia Tech happened every day -- most of the time, more than once. You know -- or think you do -- who's responsible. Where would your head be after four years of this? Would you be grateful for the americans who brought your country to this?
I doubt it. We watch this happen every day and it becomes wallpaper to us. It's not something we pay any attention to. The blood flows down iraqi gutters and it's just another day. We don't even pause anymore. We don't know it's happening -- not because we're not concerned, but because we're so damned tired of it that we can't pay attention anymore.
That's another luxury we don't share with iraqis. They have to pay attention, they live in this daily hell we've built for them. We can change the channel. Occassionally, some moron like John McCain will go through a neighborhood, declare it safe, and move on. It's the people who live there who'll suffer through the violence that follows. The violence has to follow.
As they clear the streets of the dead the next day, they'll hate John McCain and they'll hate the United States. At a certain point, it stops being about politics -- it's just a desperate attempt to get it to stop. And that attempt to stop it just adds to the sum total of misery.
The violence isn't calmly planned anymore -- it's reactionary. It's driven not by ideology, but by anger and frustration and grief and vendetta. Anyone who thinks that a suicide bomber doesn't have a photo or letter from a dead loved one in their pocket hasn't really thought about it at all.
Imagine living in yesterday every day. That's what we've brought to Iraq.
Technorati tags: politics; war; John McCain; Bush; White House; When it happens here, it's an unimaginable crime. When it happens in Iraq, it's just life