I heard a phrase this week that really got under my skin. Actually I heard it a number of times, even on this station. The phrase that irritated me so much was, "the deadliest shooting rampage in American history."
Obviously, what happened at Virginia Tech on Monday was a tragedy - a senseless act of violence conducted by a twisted individual. Stories like this grab the attention of the nation, and rightfully so. Even though none of us understood why this happened, we instantly leaned on words and phrases that have been used to describe other heinous crimes - "massacre", "slaughter", "innocent victims", and "the work of a madman".
And then a journalist somewhere did some research and discovered that more people were killed in this senseless shooting than any other before it. Forget about the kids killed in Columbine; forget about the students gunned down at the University of Texas back in 1966; we now have the deadliest shooting rampage in American history.
Here's why this irks me; what does it say about our society when tragedy becomes a competitive sport? Who in the world is keeping these records? What happens if a few years from now only 19 students are gunned down in some university out west? Does that become less of an event because it didn't break the record? - "Yeah that was bad, but not as bad as Virginia Tech."
I guess the first people to use the phrase on Monday were just trying to put things in perspective; but to do that they didn't need to compare it to other shootings. All they needed to say was, "32 young lives came to a tragic end today." That's what we think. Tell us what you think.