Metroblog

A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

23 August 2007

When Is It A Tragedy?

"When you lose control andja got no soul" ... I know, I know.

But seriously, I've been reading about the carbon monoxide leak that damn-near-killed some unfortunate Virginia Tech students a week or so ago. And the media is damn wierd about it.

Some organs refused to mention the name "Virginia Tech" at all, referring only to an incident at "a college dorm in Blacksburg, VA".

Some absolutely orgasmed all over themselves to throw in a gratuitous mention of the murderous rampage (with guns) that killed thirty-plus people last year.

Some mentioned the school, refused to link to the murders, but then called the incident a "tragedy".

Here's my problem: what is a tragedy? In this miserable and unfortunate incident, two people wound up in critical condition. But so far all the victims are alive. So, well ... If nobody dies is it a tragedy?

Thirty people shot in a single incident: tragedy, clearly.
(Tens of thousands shot around the US annually? Apparently not. Not according to the NRA, anyway.)

Two people in intensive care? By the standard set above? Not even close. Yet someone's family is going to have to sit beside an intensive care bed, hoping and praying that their loved one will come back to them, and come back whole. Here's hoping.

From an exclusively linguistic point of view I tend to go with Kim Mitchell. If nobody drowned and nobody died, it's most likely an excuse to go for a soda.

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