Editor's Note: The take away game

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2.28.12 For the first time in weeks, my bike ride to work through Court Square didn’t take me past a row of satellite trucks. The Huguely trial is over and the verdict is in. In this week’s issue, J. Tobias Beard takes a crack at answering the question he set out to explore when he began his coverage: Why did we watch this particular tragedy so closely, when there are so many others playing out around us right now?

I said in an earlier editor’s note that the answer couldn’t simply be Schadenfruede, the desire to watch other people suffer, that there had to be some kind of take away. But I’m not sure, having seen it all play out, that the take away would amount to much more than a justification for our voyeurism. If there’s any message I took away from the trial, it’s the one that’s been there all along. George Huguely V and Yeardley Love were in a seriously screwed up relationship, and no one close to them was able to stop it, either because it seemed normal or because no one could change their minds. Blame the parents, the friends, the coaches, society…or ask yourself if you’ve seen the same kind of relationship before and let it go.

Another group of UVA students also made the news this week, for using a hunger strike to attack the University’s failure to guarantee a “living wage” for all of its employees. It’s the same tactic of satyagraha that Mahatma Ghandi employed, using suffering to expose truth. In his words: “I have also called it love-force or soul-force. In the application of satyagraha, I discovered in the earliest stages that pursuit of truth did not admit of violence being inflicted on one’s opponent but that he must be weaned from error by patience and compassion… the doctrine came to mean vindication of truth, not by infliction of suffering on the opponent, but on oneself.”

Youthful exuberance? Overkill? Or a positive and practical application of values?—Giles Morris

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