Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Finding Promise through the Noise

When I started this blog, I had expected to be a bit more analytical, a bit less emotionally involved. Well, that didn't go exactly as planned. I did, however, look with some interest into how other forums and blogs were covering Brandon's story. I've already talked about the cowardly anonymous trollers and the posts they would make on Facebook groups, but there were also discussions on more traditional internet forums; most of these were still partially anonymous behind screen handles or nicknames, but they were made by users that generally had long posting histories and were clearly making points of view that reflected their opinions.

Discussions on forums and blogs centering around more mature topics, such as politics, lifestyle, and so on, were nearly always sympathetic to both Brandon and his family. While there were dissenting opinions on the video game angle, in general parents would talk about how similar situations had happened to them in the past, or could happen to anyone in the future.

There was also a lot of discussion of the Brandon Crisp story on Video Game forums, due to the strong connection made early on between Brandon and his play of the Xbox game Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. These forums are populated by nearly all males, generally in their teens or early twenties. The tone here was much different, with comments disrespectful of the tragedy, of Brandon, and of his parents. I only wish I could bring these comments forward to those individuals in 20 years time, when most will have families of their own, to see how they would feel about the criticisms they made.

But maybe I shouldn't be looking towards Video Game junkies in the first place as an example of the promise of future generations. I should look instead at the young men and women such as those that filled Brandon's service in the hundreds, dressed in their dark shirts and dresses with yellow ties and scarves, paying their respects to a fellow student that many barely knew.

At the service I was seated between two students, both about Brandon's age, sitting on their own without friends or parents around them. The one on my left, dressed in a meticulous dark suit, was there before me, and spent the next three hours in somber and solemn reflection. The one on my right arrived shortly after me with his father, who was unable to stay for the service. This young man would often pull out a tissue throughout the service to dab his eyes. These young people, and the hundreds of others filling the hall to overflowing, were there not because they had to be, but because they wanted to be, to share their sympathy and their sorrow. They are the true embodiment of the hope and promise that Brandon leaves behind for the rest of us.

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