Thursday, April 19, 2007

Virginia Tech

My thoughts and prayers are certainly with the victims of the horrible shooting at Virginia Tech, their family and friends, the witnesses, the police and administration of Virginia Tech.

It's very easy to sit back and second guess a law-enforcement or administrative decision after the fact. At first I was going to write that I prefer to reserve judgment until after I have all the facts. But who am I to judge at all? If there was gross negligence then that needs to be addressed, certainly. However, every one of us makes judgment calls every single day. Sometimes we make the right call. Sometimes we do not. I understand that the results are rarely as monumental as in this case, but this is why I'm not a police officer, an emergency room physician, a surgeon, a soldier. I don't have what it takes to make those type of split-second monumental decisions on a daily basis.

My prayers are also with the shooter's parents. I'm in no way justifying their son's actions, but nor am I going to play the "didn't they see the signs? what went wrong game?" As a parent, I cannot fathom my kid ever doing anything like this. I'm not alone. We know our kids. We recognize their eccentricities. We're so accustomed to their quirks that we might miss it when the quirk develops into a crack in one's psyche. I do believe that it's *sometimes* possible for people to be too close to the situation to recognize the 'signs'. (Ask any parent that lost a child to suicide.) So my thoughts and prayers are also with his parents. Certainly they must be horrified by what happened, sickened that their own child was responsible, and mourning the death of their son.

One thing I do wish: that the media would stop showing the photos and video that he mailed to NBC Studios in between the two shootings. It's not telling us WHY? We'll never really know why - and even if he coherently, specifically stated the reasons - we still wouldn't understand it. That's why we're here. That's why we're shocked, appalled, outraged. It's beyond our comprehension. As it should be.

The front page of my local newspaper ran one photo of Cho Seung-Hui pointing a gun directly at the camera. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But sometimes it's just crap. And the media loves crap. They'll show the rambling video stream of a deranged killer on TV, make one of his quotes the top headline on the front page of the newspaper, and yet bury the story of how communities around the nation joining together in support and prayer a whopping 14 pages later. Reports of the heroic actions of other individuals during this horrific ordeal are buried on page A-16. Here's a novel idea: why not honor those who deserve to be honored with the spot on Page 1?

[Update: I just read on that the public backlash has led to curtailing of the use of the video images that the shooter sent to NBC. NBC says it will limit it to no more than 10% of its airtime (6 minutes per hour). Six minutes too much, in my opinion, but it's a start. Apparently victims' families were pulling out of their Today show appearances in protest. Other news organizations are following suit, it seems. Class may be dying, folks, but let's not pull the plug on it yet.

Here's another link to an Associated Press article that was published in the Houston Chronicle. In it, Peter Read asks that we focus our efforts on remembering the victims, one of whom was his daughter, Mary.]

My prayers are also with the Korean-American community. I realize that Cho Seung-Hui does not represent who you are or your beliefs. I hope some idiot doesn't try to create a backlash against you. But if one does, please know that he will not represent who I am or my beliefs.

My thoughts and prayers are also with my fellow blogger, Deena. Her own community is facing similar threats (click here to read her April 19th post).


Deena said...

I got fed up today, and emailed and asked them to stop the broadcasting of that package...

This event today has been triggered by all of the media hype. True, this individual is controlled by his meth habit and his own twisted mind...but why push him over the edge with all of the hype??

We're STILL under lockdown here. Schools may have to keep students at home tomorrow as has shut down businesses, and kids are angry and scared...parents are terrified.

We don't know if this man will follow through on his threat, but we cannot take that chance. But after one day of being afraid, I'm sick of it.

Email your news outlets and urge them to take responsibility for their broadcasting...we don't need any more of this...our community is just one of 15 that have dealt with this kind of stuff since Monday...and we are small and just fries me...

Pray for his family. They are Christians and they are suffering because of all of this. They turned him in, and they are terrified of what might happen to him.

Sorry I was so long winded...I've got a lot on my mind today...

John McElveen said...


Not sure if my first post went through or not- we are having terrrible thunderstorms and when I hit publish the page didn't refresh-it just went blank. Anyway- I posted about a ParalelL Universe as my first ever post- you might like it and grin- I read your post on Pirates Blog

Congrats on the weight loss and I will add prayers that your Faith Grows as your waist goes!

God Bless,

Shionge said...

Thank you for the update about the video..this morning when I read the papers showing the images is bad enough what more on TV.

No reason why this should happen and my heart griefed. My heartfelt condolence to the victims' families.

Elle*Bee said...

That's quite alright, deena. My blog is an outlet for me - why not for you too? I did see the news reports of what's going on in your area. You have our continued prayers.

I also saw a story about a mother of a kindergarten student in Tenn. who while the teacher had her back turned, pulled out a toy pop gun and pointed it at students - 5 year olds! - before leaving with her old child. What was she thinking? (She was arrested.)

Scary times, these are, but there's still a lot of good out there.

Welcome, john mcelveen. I do recognize your name from Pirate's blog. I'll be sure to check yours out as well.

I agree, shionge. I don't believe there was really any news value to the video/photos. If the media wants to report on what he said, or provide a transcript, but everytime I saw the video on the news (it was on a lot), I kept thinking that there are 33 families out there - and countless others traumatized by this event - that just can't get away from it.

Pirate said...

The sensationalism bothers me a lot. I have prayed for his parents and family to help them through this because they are terrorised victoms as much as anyone else.

Though I do not agree with capital punsiment I am glad he spared al of us and especiallyhis family the horror of a trial.

we have to hope his soul is not as tormented as much as he was here. It is so sad that someone could fall into the grips of a mental condition that would drive them to do this.

I also can not understand the stupidity of thos who have decided to show his video on TV. Why glorify the darksides of our kind when there was so many honorable aspects of this tragedy.

We have decided in this country sometime ago to hold up and praise the worst in us and criticize the best.

Elle*Bee said...

Well said, pirate!

Lala's world said...

I know as if the tragedy is not bad enough that they actually gave this guy what he wanted....sick in my mind!