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Virginia Tech

Consumer electronics can provide entertainment, help educate and enable communication on such a scale that in our lifetime the world has become what some would call a global village.

That was illustrated when the news of the tragedy at Virginia Tech broke this week.

First off our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who were killed and wounded on Monday and with the entire Virginia Tech community.

Second, this column is not the proper place for a discussion of stricter gun control laws, the actions of the police and university administration, whether the murderer was conditioned to violence based on violent video games, or the decision to show the pictures and video of the murderer by the media. We will leave those issues and many others to the cable TV pundits, politicians and other qualified second-guessers.

But your business, TWICE’s business, is consumer electronics. Over the years, many major events have shown the general public how one CE product or another has profoundly changed the way we are able to communicate with each other.

With radio, FDR’s “fireside chats” during the Depression and Edward R. Murrow’s coverage of the London Blitz in World War II are two examples. With TV, there are many starting with JFK’s assassination in 1963 and many more all the way through 9/11, Katrina and the Iraq War.

For New Yorkers like me and many others who didn’t have a cellphone in their pocket on the morning of 9/11, we found out how vital a cellphone is in case of emergency.

Today’s cellphones are far more sophisticated than what was available back in 2001 and many students at Virginia Tech used them to full effect last week.

Shattering videos and still images of the dark events quickly appeared on TV screens later in the day by “citizen journalists” and bloggers. Students who were huddling in dorm rooms and other campus buildings called and text messaged each other and checked the Web for more information from the outside world with their cellphones if they didn’t have access to a PC or a TV.

Communication and information to and from these students provided some comfort during this horrible event.

Cellphones are wonderful devices that enable us to communicate with just about anyone, just about anywhere.

If only there were a device that would enable us to understand each other so such terrible acts of violence could be avoided.