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 newsday.com 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).