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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 19, 2007 / 1 Iyar, 5767

When reality is murder

By Suzanne Fields


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | We search for meaning in tragedy, particularly in the sudden deaths of our young, and a tragedy like that at Virginia Tech emphasizes the poverty of language and image as we grasp at solace and hints of understanding. Investigators look into security issues, psychological clues and missed opportunities for prevention, but that's only with hindsight.


On the campus, greening with early spring within its aura of tradition and the timelessness of buildings set in elegant stone, the bright young men and women who had set disciplined goals for their future were wiped out in an instant. They were betrayed by an environment in which they felt secure and protected. Television screens overflowed with repetitive sound and fury, popping shots, sad and angry students, bloody casualties. We were overwhelmed by dread and horror, of grief and numbing pain, spectators at a bad movie made with a handheld camera, depicting blurred images that awkwardly scanned the landscape, moving away from the personal dramas.


Most of us are accustomed to watching suspense stories and murder mysteries that quicken the adrenaline and keep the viewer fixated on the storyline. Reality, the inexorable chronology of events of the world beyond make-believe, marches to a very different tempo. I was running on a treadmill, watching a rerun of the television drama "24," when the first bulletins from Blacksburg interrupted television's fantasy. I cut back and forth to the cable shows for news, any news, from Virginia Tech. Television dramas about terrorists are told in tight, terrifying plots; male and female characters react to life-threatening peril punctuated by heavily charged musical soundtracks. We look at the bravery of heroes with admiration and the cunning of cowards with contempt. There is little ambiguity as good battles evil.


Real life cannot compete on that level. Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum is no doubt a hardworking man skilled in fighting crime and mischief in his community, but his close-up during the first press conference at the university showed merely a mortal man who had fewer answers than questions himself, and whose double chin lent him anything but a heroic countenance. The immediate horror lay in the numbers, and we focused on those, not the details of precious lives lost to friends, family and loved ones. Only later, when the first of the names began to dribble to the reporters, and we saw the faces, could we begin to mourn as a nation.


Watching television as the narrative of this story unfolded was a numbing experience. Instead of empathy or grief, we were kept at a synthetic distance, helpless voyeurs who could perceive the horror with cold curiosity rather than wrenching emotion. All those discussions about television blurring art and reality seemed moot; this was reality in all its messy complexity. No answers, no analysis and nothing scenic. Television has its merits in delivering breaking news, but this was a story about more than facts. We quickly learned there were 33 dead, with many injured, but no answers to questions that begin with who, what and why. Such answers would come later.


Actors playing cops on television employ the latest technology, playing out the crime before us, enhancing images in high-tech laboratories. Virginia Tech is a high-tech school, but the cops, stuck in reality, could only be low-tech operators. The university, it seemed clear in the immediate aftermath, erred by not announcing immediately that two persons had been slain in a dormitory, and students should be on alert. Virginia Tech officials defended their decision not to cancel classes based on what they knew at the time. Like it or not, recriminations were inevitable. When so much is lost, someone must answer questions.


Eyewitness videos could tell us something, but the available images were awkward and raw, the interviews suffering from cliched attempts at spontaneity. Life is not scripted. The dead do not get to return another day to play different characters in a new drama. The popping of these bullets were not sound effects. The men and women cut down in the springtime of their lives would not enjoy another television season on the screen. This was reality, but not reality television intended to make voyeurs of us all. When the medium is the message and the message is a massacre, the horror endures.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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