The Virginia Tech Massacre is very much palpable in the state of Virginia, yet it has retreated into the unspoken ether of our campus as it probably has for most other campuses around the state and country. But what might be deceiving about this subsiding is that I, like so many others, spend a majority of my life on a college campus in Virginia. And after watching the video below it occurs to me that I have gone out of my way to avoid thinking about the events that took place last April. The whole thing—as I remember it—so quickly became a surreal casualty count that got more and more horrific as the reports streamed in. Most students, staff, and faculty throughout Virginia were directly effected given that most everyone has family and friends at Virginia Tech whose lives they feared for.
Yet, despite this sense of general quietude we all try to settle into, the shooting did happen and we are still no closer to an explanation for the murderous insanity that took place that day. Families, friends and communities need to grieve, heal and struggle with emotions that may be the only thing more unfathomable than the act itself. Nonetheless our culture will have to return to that incident at some point to start making some sense of all that terror, as difficult as that may be. So, the following video struck a chord on some dark and profound level. Witnessing an abbreviated and powerfully uncomfortable game-based re-enactment of the massacre has me wondering why I have refused to think about this moment. The machinima based on Halo 3 tries to imagine that moment without unnecessary exploitation or an overt ideological ax to grind, in fact it was done as a project for a Criminal Justice class.
This video obviously deals with a very sensitive and, in many ways, unfathomable series of events so please consider this before watching it. This video is at once a strangely dislocated and compassionate space to enable re-visiting something that some of us may be dangerously inclined to bury deep in the far reaches of our psyche. I’m not sure re-visiting the event is necessarily right, nor am I certain that avoiding it is entirely healthy. There has got to be another way, and I don’t think this video is necessarily it, but it does raise an extremely important issue that most of us are probably petrified of, namely the fact that anyone would be crazy or insensitive or brave enough to begin to imagine it publicly.