February 4th, 2013

bilbo

mourning for Adam Lanza

Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.

On December 14, CBS’s news portal for Boston carried a news piece similar to the ones appearing on pretty much every news site in the country. I’m quoting from it not because it’s extraordinary in any way, but because (a) it’s reasonably close to the community most directly affected by the Connecticut shooting, and (b) we have to start somewhere. But really, I’m fairly sure I could find something similar in any news site in the country.

According to CBS, “Twenty-six people were killed and one person was injured in a shooting at an elementary school in Newtown,” including “20 children – ages 5 to 10 – and six adults.” In the very next paragraph, however, the article states “The gunman shot and killed himself inside the school.” And to be clear those six adults are Rachel Davino, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, and Victoria Soto. Even though the shooter, Adam Lanza, died in the school, he’s almost never included in these lists.

It’s fairly straightforward to mourn a child. I don’t mean that it’s easy, or that there’s a formula that has to be met and then you move on. Grief never works that way and least of all with a child who we believe has barely begun to live. But this kind of grief lacks the moral ambiguity you see in suicides and deaths embedded in horrific crimes like the Connecticut shooting. How do you mourn someone when that mourning seems to so often be about the end of their life – and when that life ends so spectacularly in a way you just can’t approve of? On the one hand it seems wrong to name people like Adam Lanza in the same breath with their victims, almost disrespectful to those twenty-six people, but at the same time those who were closest to people like Adam Lanza have still lost a beloved brother, son, and friend. They’re part of this tragedy, too, and not by their choosing.

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bilbo

FaceBook vs. LiveJournal

Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.

This afternoon I went for my weekly brownie bite + Diet Coke at Applebees before hitting the library and going to my Aquinas class tonight, which meant I had some good time away from the internet to just relax and do some fun reading. And I discovered I still had a chapter or two to go on George Takei’s Oh My! I got a Kindle version of the book for Christmas and have really enjoyed it. I highly recommend it, but I want to dig a little deeper than a simple review.

I asked for Oh My! thinking it would be a nice bio of someone I loved both as a Trekkie and an avid fan of his FB page. It does that. It also shars some of his favorite comics and memes, many of which are at least as funny the second time around as they were the first. So from that angle alone it’s a worthwhile read. Also, back in the Prop 8 debates, I saw a lot of Mr. Takei and his husband Brad in the news, and I always admired the couple. You could tell they were very much in love, and Brad struck me as a very down-to-earth kind of guy. You see glimpses of all the work Brad does helping support George’s FB page, and what a good councillor he is for him. So it’s been nice learning a bit more about that aspect of his life. That in itself would have been worth the read.

But it turned out there was a really interesting bit I was only getting into. See, toward the end of the book Mr. Takei talks quite a bit about managing his internet identity and how FaceBook works. I have a little experience trying to communicate with the MEFAs, but for all the work I did with that group we never got into the whole Web 2.0 world. This was partly because the Tolkien fandom hit its heyday before Web 2.0 did, so a lot of our members were more comfortable on email distribution groups and blogs than we were in that brave new world. And up until close to the end there, I definitely fell in that category. In the last year or two of the MEFAs, though, I started paying more attention to things like FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, and all the rest. Anyone who’s organizing anything in the Tolkien fandom these days would do well to pay attention because the Hobbit movies are bringing in a lot of fans who grew up on 2.0.

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