Memories of Columbine
I can’t promise to keep this short.
But I just want to post this quickly, and get over this.
All these news about the Virginia Tech tragedy did not escape me. If I’m not mistaken, 32 were killed and another one killed himself in that shooting rampage.
The moment I saw it on Yahoo the day after the massacre, I tried to shield myself from the fact that it actually happened.
On March 31, a nine-year old girl was killed in New Bataan, Compostela Valley. We would soon know she has a name, Grecil, and she wasn’t a child soldier.
On April 10, the Gonzagas of Brgy. Dalagdag in Calinan district were killed, all four of them. The day after, hundreds of residents fled two barangays in Panabo City, allegedly caught in fighting between the government forces and the New Peoples Army. I remember telling GMA TV’s Vladimir Fernando that I could use some debriefing after seeing the bodies of the Gonzagas prepared for embalming at the back of a chapel in Dalagdag.
So when Virginia Tech came out in the news on April 16, I could barely handle it. I have to block off the gory of it.
Massacres are not simple and easy to cover. It’s life meyn, and it could be yours anytime. Even if I am far away from Columbine or Virginia, I took note of the resonance locally.
To those who think journalists’ work is comfortable and all smooth, then they must have seen only those who sit in press conferences.
In most cases, a journalist like me strikes as a human being before anything else. The gist is that he or she could feel pain and he could not just get the story without picking a part of the negative vibes. It’s beyond wit.
While I was staring at the Yahoo website, scenes from Micheal Moore’s 2002 award-winning documentary “Bowling for Columbine” flashed back. His film tackled the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. Then, two teens killed twelve students and a teacher, as well as wounding twenty-four others, before committing suicide.
I saw the film in 2005 and even if Moore infused humor in one way or another, it is still a chilling exposure.
When cases of Grecil and the Gonzagas came upfront, I cannot help but be stuck into it — both with my own struggles and the demands of work.
The police said last week they are probing more angles on the Gonzaga family’s murder and that the Commission on Human Rights have pledged to release results of its investigation on Grecil’s case next week.
I don’t remember having a post on VT, maybe this is it. No matter what, at least I was able to catch my breath. (Photo grabbed from Virginia Tech’s “In Memoriam” online tribute)