Lou Dobbs Notes Little Attention to Everyday Tragedies on College Campuses

April 17th, 2007 11:44 AM

Proof that even broken clocks are correct twice a day, CNN’s populist anchor and "Early Show" contributor Lou Dobbs appeared on the April 17 edition of the CBS show to provide some perspective on the recent Virginia Tech massacre. Dobbs stated that although the shooting at Virginia Tech was a terrible tragedy, it pales in comparison to some of the horrific tragedies that happen on college campuses every day. Suicide and binge drinking kill far more college students than these terrible but very rare incidents, yet the media rarely focuses on them. The transcript is below.

LOU DOBBS: Good morning, Russ, thank you. And good morning to all of you. This morning, we're grieving for the victims of what has turned out to be the deadliest shooting in this country's history and the senseless deaths, the shock of those death, of more than 30 people and the wounding of dozens more on Virginia Tech's campus won't diminish for us soon. My heart goes out to the families and the victims and all those touched by this tragedy. As we try to make sense of this madness, you and I know that in the days and weeks ahead, these horrible murders will dominate our news coverage and our national conversation. And we in the media will most likely lose some perspective and some sense of proportion. We'll be reporting on the worst shooting rampage ever in this country. But we will be also unlikely to report that mass shootings in this nation's elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and colleges, as horrific as they are, number just over 200 over the past 80 years. Unfortunately, we'll also not be likely to report that on our college campuses, 1,100 students each and every year will commit suicide. The rate of drug overdoses among teens and young adults is now more than doubled over a recent five-year period. And each year, on average, there are 1,400 binge drinking related deaths among our college students nationwide. The Virginia Tech murders are horrible and senseless. And because they are dramatic, they demand our attention this morning. But for all our sakes, I hope we also ask ourselves why our society is permitting the routine slaughter of a far greater number of our young people on college campuses. We should also ask ourselves why we're doing nothing about these senseless deaths and permitting death to be a rite of passage on our college campuses.

RUSS MITCHELL: Some people are going to see this, Lou, and they're going to ask, is Lou saying that this -- school shootings are not a real issue when you look at the big picture?

DOBBS: Oh, absolutely not. I'm saying that violence on our college campuses is so, so large and so routinely ignored that we have become insensitive, desensitized if you will, to what is a national crisis. The idea that 70,000 students each year are sexually assaulted and raped on our college campuses, as I said, 1,400 dying, 1,100 binge-drinking related deaths. These are horrific numbers. And yet there is no national commission, no national outrage and call to action. And what I'm saying is, this is a great time for us to look honestly at what we're doing as a society and culture.