Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

In Memoriam: Virginia Tech

Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the horrible mass murder of innocents at Virginia Tech University. We extend our condolences and prayers to the friends, families and communities that were affected by this terrible event. One year on, the wounds and sorrows of those who remain are still real, raw and in the process of healing. We continue to extend our hopes and wishes for their continued recovery.

One year on we continue to seek for answers about what in the American cultural DNA produces the type of behavior bent on a theatrical display of institutional fratricide and suicidal self destruction. Though the Virginia Tech tragedy could be considered a “fat tail” type event, our country has experienced the nightmare annihilation of innocents before at Columbine and the Amish One Room Schoolhouse at West Nickel Mines.

As risk managers we are called to uncover and examine clues, patterns and causal triggers that lead to these types of extreme events with the hope that they can be averted. Thus we ask, what factors in our cultural environment contribute to these social disasters?

Many factors that influence and produce this type of behavior have been offered. They include the idolatry of violence and aggressive behavior, the availability of guns, poor funding to treat mental and emotional illness, fractured families, the erosion of our moral values and ambivalence toward the sanctity of life. To be sure no hard quantitative data and statistical algorithms can model a high degree of correlation between the absence of these social support mechanisms and the resulting extreme anti-social behavior exhibited in these events. Though no beta can be calculated we can infer that the absence of community and social support resources are inextricably linked to anti-social behaviors.

We believe that these types of events will continue with increasing regularity until we attack the problem at its root and proscribe some strong social medicine to cure this illness. As risk managers we understand that risk events are costly. Virginia Tech and other institutions suffered monetary loss as a result of this event but the real cost is measured in breakdown of institutional trust, broken hearts, vengeful spirits and cultural decay. The social profit and loss statement could start to incur some real losses as war veterans begin returning from their protracted terms of service in Afghanistan and Iraq. The reality of what they experienced and the conditions they endured will require a generous social safety net to reacclimatize them to our societal norms.

If anything gives us reason to hope is the example of how the Amish Community healed itself by forgiving the trespasser. This radical reconciliation is an affirmation of their community values and their unshakable faith in a love supreme. May all the departed and those who remain continue to be joined through this love.

Risk: Social, Institutional, Culture, Family, Religion

You Tube Video: Branford Marsalis , A Love Supreme

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April 17, 2008 - Posted by | community, culture | , , , , , , ,

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