Do not go gentle into that good night

Next Monday, quite a few bloggers will be participating in One Day of Blog Silence, in memory of those killed at Virginia Tech last Monday.

I’m with one-time Wizbanger Timmer. I’ll pass.

As he says, in proper context a moment of silence can be very powerful. Blogging is not one of those contexts.

More importantly, I think that silence is precisely the wrong message to send. There’s an old aphorism that “silence equals consent.” Silence is passive. And passivity is precisely the wrong lesson to take from the massacre.

Passivity, acceptance, consent, nonresistance — they were not factors in the shooting, but very well may have been factors in its success.

The school and the state collaborated in making the campus of Virginia Tech a “safe” place. THey systematically inculcated a culture of dependence and security among the students. They told them, repeatedly and in multiple ways, that they were “protected.” That they were “secure.” They made it a completely harmless, passive, and defenseless environment.

But that kind of security, that kind of safety, is like virginity or pregnancy. It’s digital, it’s binary, it’s an all-or-nothing kind of thing.

That security lasted precisely as long as it took for one person (who I shall not name) took it into himself to violate the rules and bring his guns on campus, and use them. At that point the sanctuary became a killing grounds, much like those vile “captive hunting” grounds, where the animals are penned in and can’t escape.

The wolf was in the sheep pen, and there were no sheepdogs present. There might have been some dogs, but they’d been muzzled out of respect for the “sharp-teeth-free zone” rules. Free of being challenged, the wolf killed and killed until he grew bored, and then killed himself.

Too many of the students responded precisely as they — as we — have inculcated them. They trusted in the school, in the police, in the state, in society to keep the promises we had made. They didn’t run, they didn’t fight back, they hid and complied and obeyed.

And died.

They will participate in next Monday’s day of silence. They have no choice.

Others will. That is their right, and they are sincere in their beliefs, and I will not criticize them.

I have that same choice. And I will not be silent.

Join me. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

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