This has been a very bad day in the United States.
The massacre at Virginia Tech has shocked the world, but it has also taught us something important: In a major disaster, the victims themselves will tell us about it.
The mass media like CNN were using cell-phone video from students on campus. Other students have bitterly complained about the slowness of authorities to alert them, whether by email, text messaging, voicemail, or the campus public-address system.
The countries with the most advanced communications systems will be the first to tell the world about catastrophes like this one. But even Third World countries have cell phones and some kind of internet access. Increasingly, we will see car bombings in Baghdad and riots in Mogadishu, disease outbreaks in Jakarta and AIDS deaths in Zimbabwe, reported by those who are there.