This was the letter first sent by President Levin to the President of Virginia Tech, a campus now in a state of shock and despair after yesterday's shooting tragedy, and later forwarded to the entire Yale community:
Dear President Steger:
The entire world looks on with compassion for the terrible ordeal that your campus suffered today. Those of us in universities feel most especially the fragility of our communities, and their vulnerability to those who do not live by our values of civility and respect for others. I send you personally my warmest sympathy, and I hasten to offer any help that I or Yale University might provide.
With deepest condolences for those you have lost,
President, Yale University
Thank you for employing such neo-con rhetoric, President Levin - that same type of distorted Manichean language that has allowed for intellectual defenses of horrific, historic crimes against the Other (colonization, invasion of Iraq). Certainly, it is "our values" - unique to the rest of the World - that lead us to condemn murder so strongly.
Thank you also for dehumanizing an individual who obviously had some sort of problem. Here, we have a man whose daily interactions with people must have made him felt as if he were not of this world, and, even in his death, you feel the need to posit him as an aberration to all that is decent. As no culture condones the slaughter of innocent people, such comments are really necessary...
This attack should tell us nothing other than that a crazed foreigner went on a rampage. It is certainly not indicative of the need for gun regulation. Clearly, it is not symptomatic of a culture that glorifies violent masculinity. After all, the gunment isn't like "us"; he's not human. Only with such disgusting logic would it be acceptable for the New York Times, which yesterday was stating 33 people had been killed, to write that 32 people and the gunman had been killed . A human life lost, but, inexplicably, to the New York Times and President Levin, it is as if he were not a victim.