Another mass killing

I have no words, this is from Vox:

Maybe something will change; maybe this time we will manage to act. But it’s difficult to be anything but pessimistic, and when I think about why that is, my mind goes back again to Virginia Tech and 2007, when the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik wrote what is, to me, the single most powerful paragraph I have read on the subject:

The cell phones in the pockets of the dead students were still ringing when we were told that it was wrong to ask why. As the police cleared the bodies from the Virginia Tech engineering building, the cell phones rang, in the eccentric varieties of ring tones, as parents kept trying to see if their children were OK. To imagine the feelings of the police as they carried the bodies and heard the ringing is heartrending; to imagine the feelings of the parents who were calling — dread, desperate hope for a sudden answer and the bliss of reassurance, dawning grief — is unbearable. But the parents, and the rest of us, were told that it was not the right moment to ask how the shooting had happened — specifically, why an obviously disturbed student, with a history of mental illness, was able to buy guns whose essential purpose is to kill people — and why it happens over and over again in America. At a press conference, Virginia’s governor, Tim Kaine, said, “People who want to … make it their political hobby horse to ride, I’ve got nothing but loathing for them. … At this point, what it’s about is comforting family members … and helping this community heal. And so to those who want to try to make this into some little crusade, I say take that elsewhere.”

Many things have been written and will continue to be written on America’s gun ownership rate (the highest in the world), its gun violence (the worst in the developed world), and the political and social forces that keep this from changing.

Blaming the wrong technology

When Google Earth launched there were security concerns. Could this kind of technology be used for the wrong reasons? Well this may or may not be a problem but what is really silly are the attempts to use the events in Bombay as an illustration of the dangers of technology. Computerworld:

The terrorists who attacked various locations in southern Mumbai last week used digital maps from Google Earth to learn their way around, according to officials investigating the attacks…Google Earth has previously come in for criticism in India, including from the country’s former president, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Kalam warned in a 2005 lecture that the easy availability online of detailed maps of countries from services such as Google Earth could be misused by terrorists.

So what if the terrorists used Google Earth? According to Wikipedia they attacked

…the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, the Orthodox Jewish-owned Nariman House, the Metro Cinema, and a lane behind the Times of India building behind St. Xavier’s College.

Most if not all of these locations would be listed in any guidebook, many of them are century old landmarks and yet some people are attempting to blame Google Earth as if the attacks could not have been carried out without technology.

It is very popular and easy to blame IT for attacks, take for example the shootings in Finland were all but blamed on YouTube since the gunman left films there. It’s a pity that these types of arguments are not used against the acual weapons used. Instead of blaming a software company maybe the blame should be placed at the small arms industry.