Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Murderer at Virginia Tech

In the coming days you are going to here more and more about what drove Cho Seung-Hui, a 23 year old senior of the Virginia Tech English Department to commit mass murder. And placing blame is going to come along side it, some of it not necessarily wrong, but little of it right.

The sad fact is that while nothing could ever justify an evil act such as this, it will more than likely have to do with a girl, teacher, grades or an uncertain future. At least that will be the speculated reasons.

Regardless of what you hear in the next several days and weeks remember this. Ultimately there is no one else to blame but Cho Seung-Hui himself. He made the choice to murder and take innocent life by stalking and killing. And I think he liked it. What? You may ask. There are some people in this world who enjoy killing just for the sake of killing. I think in the wake of the two hours after the initial dorm murders were committed he decided that he actually enjoyed the murdering of people.

He got a power charge or a hard on or whatever. You can not tell me that he didn't shoot almost forty people and not enjoy it. He did.

Maybe the campus administrators should have shut down the campus as soon as they found out of the two dead. I certainly think so. It's called problem containment. But there is another unseen blame here. No one student or professor was capable or willing to stop him. Virginia has a carry conceal law, but it prohibits the carrying of firearms on campus. This law certainly didn't seem to stop Cho Seung-Hui from carrying out his attack. One or two students armed with a pistol in a messenger bag or under a t-shirt could have neatly perforated his head. But there is something else missing. Bravery. Grown an able bodied men cowered behind doors, desks, tables and chairs when they should have been doing something. The very same guys who are so brave playing their Special Forces video games in the dorms, or watching 24 and thinking how much they would like to be Jack Bauer (I like guy tv too). All the danger, none of the risk.

The cowardice to do nothing in yesterday's attack was just as evil as the murder committed by Hui. One student or instructor armed could have saved lives. One (or seven) well placed stab wounds from a folding knife from a sneak attack on Hui could have saved lives. A fire extinguisher sprayed and emptied and then applied to his head could have saved lives. We can not sit an condemn the French for surrendering or cowardice when we are raising our men in the same manner.

While this is no doubt a dark moment and spot in American history, and it is easy to point out that Hui was able to get access to handguns, let me refresh your memory to September 1, 2004, the Beslan School Hostage crisis. Doesn't ring any bells? Probably not. It happened in the Russian town of Beslan. A group of Muslim pro-Chechen rebels took 1200 teachers and student hostage. Russia isn't exactly known for its easy access to firearms. On day three gunfire erupted and resulted in the deaths of 344 civilians of whom 186 were children. You don't kill 186 elementary aged school children and not enjoy it.

Life isn't getting more violent, history shows us this. But the fact of the matter is that one day we are going to wake up and find that a suicide bomber walked into an American bookstore, coffee shop, mall and blew himself up, and that will be the start of it. And explosives are highly controlled and regulated in the U.S. so there won't be the standard excuses of blaming everyone else for the actions of those who commit evil.

There is in the end only one solution to problems such as this. Courage. Or more appropriately Courage Under Fire. If you are encountering someone who is trying to kill you and those around you the only reasonable thing to do is to kill them before they can continue. This responsibility falls on the men of society just as it always has, and not on waiting for the police to rescue you.

The amazing thing is that through repeated situations like this the world over, I still get asked "Why do you carry a gun?"


Our conversation had started with me asking “ So who shot you in the throat? ”, a basic conclusion on my part, b ecause on one sid...