I don’t want to write about what my feelings are surrounding the incident at Virginia Tech. My students and I talked about it in class today, and in that sort of setting, one on one, everyone in a circle, looking at each other and trying to recognize each other’s humanity as best we can, and trying to recognize the killer’s humanity as best we can too–which is often something no one wants to consider, that what Cho did was a human thing, obviously, because we should be able to see that humans throughout history kill each other for all sorts of reasons and for no reason whatsoever sometimes, it’s one of the things we do–but I don’t find journaling about my feelings and thoughts about the incident online, where there’s already a certain amount of distance to cross for people, and so soon after, is the best place for me personally to talk about all of the issues surrounding such an event. Maybe later.
Instead, because I was too shocked and sad when I heard of his death recently, I decided to spend some time rereading some of my favorite books he’d written, and am lining up a couple that I hadn’t read before to read now as well. If anyone has favorites to suggest, tell me which ones. I reread Slaughterhouse Five this past October, so I won’t be returning to it right now, and I just read his latest Man Without a Country, which was excellent, in January. I started rereading Cat’s Cradle today, and came across one of the best little descriptions ever, and still apt, and perhaps will always be apt, as long as humans live:
“You scientists think too much,” blurted Miss Pefko. She laughed idiotically. Dr. Breed’s friendliness had blown every fuse in her nervous system. She was no longer responsible. “You all think too much.”
A winded, defeated-looking fat woman in filthy coveralls trudged beside us, hearing what Miss Pefko said. She turned to examine Dr. Breed, looking at him with helpless reproach. She hated people who thought too much. At that moment, she struck me as an appropriate representative for almost all mankind.
The fat woman’s expression implied that she would go crazy on the spot if anybody did any more thinking.
–Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle
As Stan Lee says, ’nuff said.