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Preventing Horror


I got home last night and watched NBC news and saw the freakshow that was Cho displayed before me.

The only thing I find more dangerous than Cho are those who see Cho, and people like him, as a victim. "What problems did he have as a youth?" This was a question stated by NBC's guy. I ask: who cares? He's no victim. To even suggest that he is a victim completely disregards his utterly senseless murder of so many people.

"Why did he do it?"

Wrong question. That only makes us stare at the guy and give him more undeserved attention.

The right question: how do we prevent this from happening in the future? We don't do that by studying Cho himself. We do that by studying why we as a society missed the early warning signs.

There are a lot of really, really bad people in the world who simply can't be reformed. When people show explicit signs of hating society and start talking of killing people, the risk is not worth it. It's time to pull them out of society until they can play nice in the sandbox with everyone else.

Yes, that's a violation of their civil liberties. But they're not being civil, so they have, in effect, opted out. Free speech doesn't include the right to threaten to kill others. When 63 out of 70 people don't show up for class because of this guy and nothing was done to boot him out permanently, that's a failure of leadership.

So, enough about what's his name. Let's focus on where we failed.


by Brett Rogers, 4/19/2007 11:11:48 AM


This is a common response because people are angry and hurt. Rightfully so. But we cannot be thought police--to do so is reactionary.Where do you draw the line? People make stupid threats every day without any intention of action. Hindsight is 20/20 and violating people's civil liberties will only incite violent behavior, not stop it.

Besides, if you are going to disregard the Constitution, do it for something useful--like gun control.

Figuring out WHY he did it is a very valid question. It's certainly just as helpful in preventing these types of things as throwing any jerk who starts a sentance with "I'm gonna kill...." in jail.

'Victim' is a loaded word. His illness went unchecked, and I do believe he was mentally ill, not just mean. I feel just as sorry for his family as I do for the families of those he shot. That doesn't mean I feel sorry for him. His illness does not excuse his actions. But his motives and the circumstances leading up to this tragedy are not simple -- taking away his freedom of speech wouldn't have stopped it. Who knows if anything could have....



Posted by Bella, 4/19/2007 12:44:29 PM

Hell no. You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers. No touching that part of the constitution. Not now, not ever. Had one of these students been allowed to carry a concealed weapon (I believe Virginia allows this but they are not allowed on school grounds there), maybe so many would not have died. See "More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws" By John R. Lott.

I'm not sure I feel sorry for his family, I'm too pissed right now. How the hell can you not know your son is that far gone? In my eyes they are partially responsible. They should have been the first step in noticing he had a problem. Hearing the various reports coming in now just stuns me he was allowed to go unchecked this long.

Psychologists can play Monday morning quarterback, try to diagnose him after the fact, fit him for one or more mental illnesses, I'll just call him evil. To take that many innocent lives in such a cold, calculating manner requires pure evil.



Posted by Pale Rider, 4/19/2007 3:05:38 PM

It's easy to figure out why he did this: he chose to do this. That's why. That's all we need to know. Leave the rest to the profilers at the FBI. Premeditated choice is not an illness. To call it so paints in poor light those who truly do have mental illness and need treatment. This guy was beyond treatment.

I'm not suggesting that we take away his freedom of speech, Bella. I'm recommending that we listen to him - in the interest of society - and take a whacko who repeatedly and in many ways said that he wanted to do this. Fair enough. We'll take you at your word until we know that you're safe for the rest of us.

And I am so with Pale Rider on this one. Give people with stable backgrounds guns to prevent against scum like this. Guns protect the innocent far more often than they hurt the innocent.



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 4/19/2007 3:16:44 PM

-Free speech doesn't include the right to threaten to kill others.

-Yes, that's a violation of their civil liberties.

-I'm not suggesting that we take away his freedom of speech, Bella.

Okay, maybe I'm overanalyzing, but it sounds (reads) exactly like what you are saying. Free speech does give you the right to say you are going to kill someone. Doesn't give you the right to do it. And trying to mandate when it crosses over from just being pissed off to crazy guy who might kill people is impossible without taking away their freedom of speech. I don't disagree that he slipped unnecessarily through the cracks, and actions should have been taken...the kid was obviously nuts. I just disagree about what actions should have been taken. You're right, people should have listened...they should have gotten involved.

--Premeditated choice is not an illness.
The illness is what causes violent choices--premeditated or not. Look, I'm not defending him, I'm just saying that he was definately sick. I'm not saying that there wasn't more than a little evil in the air that day. Why can't both be true?

I do agree that he gave plenty of other warning signs, but the reason they were 'warning signs' are because historically, we've investigated the 'why' of people who go on rampages like this. Recent reports sound like he was giving plenty of them that could have gotten him thrown in jail or civilly committed without screwing around with his civil liberties. If only people would have listened or done something. But the warning signs probably started when the kid was 12. That's why 'why' is a valid question.

PR---I knew the guns would get you. Long time no rant! All I'm saying is that the state of Virginia and I have a very different definition of gun control. No waiting period and a background check that takes a minute and a half doesn't exactly constitute 'control' in my book. You think more people having guns would have saved some lives at VT, I think it would have resulted in a giant shootout that would have killed more. I grant you that there are law abiding good citizens who have guns, ostensibly for protection, but if there were fewer guns out there in the first place,they probably wouldn't need them.

But I'm off topic for a change. :-) I propose that we are all mad and hurt by this. We are all looking for someone to blame. Ultimately the one to blame is now dead. His choosing to do so was not a rational choice, but there were reasons behind it. He thought he was a martyr and a hero for a reason, and however screwed up that reasoning may have been, it bears examining to prevent such things in the future. But we're all, as PR put it, Monday morning quarterbacks on this one--not just the psychologists.



Posted by Bella, 4/19/2007 4:32:20 PM

Ha it's been awhile Bella. I've been overseas and it's good to get back on my high horse! :)

The whole free speech debate is interesting. I'm not a big fan of restricting anyone's right to it, but there has to be rules when it comes to violating another's rights. I'm with Brett here, threatening someone should result in a one way ticket to a full psychiatric evaluation. Hell, make a threat against the president and it won't be long before the secret service shows up at your door.

As we are seeing with this individual there is a disconnect between the psych evaluation and the courts (I'll spare you my diatribe on the justice system tonight) and we need to learn from this (along with the many other things that are coming out).

I do agree Bella that the gun control laws need to be tightened. I would go so far as to say a psych evaluation should be included at the expense of the applicant.



Posted by Pale Rider, 4/19/2007 8:16:04 PM

--The whole free speech debate is interesting. I'm not a big fan of restricting anyone's right to it, but there has to be rules when it comes to violating another's rights.

It is interesting. To me it always comes down to where you draw the line, and I don't think you can without sliding down a slippery slope.

Spreading American goodwill overseas, huh? God help us all. :-)



Posted by Bella, 4/20/2007 10:10:54 AM

Always Bella! American goodwill via peace thru superior firepower. :-)



Posted by Pale Rider, 4/20/2007 11:37:40 AM

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