I read several newspapers daily and watch CNN religiously. I read the online news from a variety of countries with varying perspectives. To call me a news junky is an understatement.
When horrific life events happen, I often end up watching the same footage over and over for days. I read the same facts written in a variety of ways. I hear commentary from a variety of people and sources. I try to get the largest picture possible of the story. The massacre at Virginia Tech was a tragedy of the unimaginable. The victims, roughly the same age as those dying in the Iraq war, died doing something many of us once did; walking across a campus, sitting in a classroom or just hanging out in a dorm. The tributes in the New York Times and on CNN have been heartbreaking, but I can't help but also think about Cho Seung-Hui as well. Yes, he's a murderer and his name will be immortalized for causing the deadliest shooting rampage in the United States to date, but clearly he was sick. People are quick to remind us that mental disease is, in fact, a disease, until something like this happens, and then instead of being labeled "sick" the person is considered evil and vile. I believe that in this case, it was the act that was vile and deplorable, not the person.
Cho had a childhood riddled with teasing and possibly even suffered from abuse. He had a long history of mental illness that went untreated and warning signs that went ignored. This man spent his entire life being overlooked. He was a human being with severe mental illness subjected to ridicule and psychological trauma living in a state with the most lax of gun control laws and unfortunately in his case, this was a lethal combination. People aren't born to do things like this.
I have a love/hate relationship with the news. I like knowing what's going on in the world and how the pieces of life's many puzzles fit together. I do, however, acknowledge that we never get the whole story. Nevertheless it brings to my frame people and causes that I might not otherwise have known about.
I believe that what this world needs the most are people with a wide-angle lens.