Respectful Insolence

PZ Myers has identified contemptible ghoul #1, Debbie Schlussel, who has decided that it must have been a Muslim terrorist who carried out the horrific school shooting today at Virginia Tech (and is now backing off as more information comes out, as she claims that students should have been allowed to have guns on campus).

Here’s contemptible ghoul #2, Ken Ham over at Answers in Genesis, who blames the evil of the school shooting on atheism (of course!) and–wink, wink, nudge, nudge–evolution, even though he “isn’t saying that,” if you know what I mean:

We live in an era when public high schools and colleges have all but banned God from science classes. In these classrooms, students are taught that the whole universe, including plants and animals–and humans–arose by natural processes. Naturalism (in essence, atheism) has become the religion of the day and has become the foundation of the education system (and Western culture as a whole). The more such a philosophy permeates the culture, the more we would expect to see a sense of purposelessness and hopelessness that pervades people’s thinking. In fact, the more a culture allows the killing of the unborn, the more we will see people treating life in general as “cheap.”

I’m not at all saying that the person who committed these murders at Virginia Tech was driven by a belief in millions of years or evolution. I don’t know why this person did what he did, except the obvious: that it was a result of sin. However, when we see such death and violence, it is a reminder to us that without God’s Word (and the literal history in Genesis 1-11), people will not understand why such things happen.

Despicable. Ken Ham couldn’t even wait until tomorrow to start blaming godless secularists and evolution for this crime, just as he blamed the Columbine shootings on evolution and atheism.

Comments

  1. #1 usagi
    April 16, 2007

    In other news, the sun rose in the East and appears to be setting in the West. It’s not as if anything other than dropping the details into a boilerplate was required.

    One of the best comments on the outrageousness I’ve read so far: let them. If prodded for a comment, reply, “This is a terrible tragedy, and my thoughts are with all those affected.” Period. Full stop. And then let the harpies screech as loud as they like and be seen for the ghouls they are.

  2. #2 Coin
    April 16, 2007

    I would like if I may to nominate for slot #3 Jack Thompson (no, sorry, I don’t have a more reasonable link handy) who within two hours of the event was on Fox News blaming the shootings on video games.

  3. #3 Tyler DiPietro
    April 16, 2007

    Pretty much standard fare for Thompson. Everytime some shooting or violent event makes the news he digs for some reason video games were involved. He’s not only a contemptible ghoul, but a shameless ambulance chaser.

  4. #4 Joshua
    April 16, 2007

    Three faces of the same disease. Each one in turn uses a tragic event as a platform to push their respective agendas: anti-Muslim/Arab racism, anti-evolutionism, and anti-video gameism.

    It’s nothing short of sick.

  5. #5 themann1086
    April 16, 2007

    To paraphrase Lewis Black, whenever I hear one of these people say something like that, I want to turn to them and say “Hey; go FUCK yourselves!”

  6. #6 Justin Moretti
    April 17, 2007

    He’s a f***ing sick creature, and I hope he roasts in Hell.

    His manner of thinking reminds me of those T-shirts that, with supreme arrogance, proclaim variations of:

    kNOw God, kNOw meaning.
    kNOw God, kNOw life.
    kNOw God, kNOw hope.

    The more such a philosophy permeates the culture, the more we would expect to see a sense of purposelessness and hopelessness that pervades people’s thinking.

    This is the common Fundamentalist Christian flaw, the core of their brainwashing, that morals, hope and purpose do not exist outside the Christian belief system. I rejected it even when I was deeply religious (Catholic), and I reject it still.

    The tying in of the abortion issue to this whole business is particularly cheap and nasty.

    However, when we see such death and violence, it is a reminder to us that without God’s Word (and the literal history in Genesis 1-11), people will not understand why such things happen. Yes, they will. They will just not subscribe to your particular, narrow world view, Mr Ham. Again, even in the depths of religious fervor, I could tell the difference between the inherent capability for evil in humankind and the fairy-tale made up to explain it.

    I would also remind you, Mr Ham, that sin is an invalid concept for someone who is not in their right mind – the very definition of sin is that it is freely chosen and known to be wrong. We will never know what was in this creature’s mind (because he was not taken alive), but nothing I’ve heard so far indicates that he was rational. He may have been in control of what he was physically doing, but that does not mean he was rational.

    Unless you would like to impose a religious interpretation on all of psychiatry. Demon possession, anyone? When is your exorcism booked for, Mr Ham?

  7. #7 Stuart Coleman
    April 17, 2007

    I think that the people who are using this as a soapbox for anything are despicable. At least have some civility and wait until the dead are buried, for crying out loud. It’s like every tragedy has to be exploited to prove something now.

    Although the likes of Ham and Schlussel are despicable no matter what.

  8. #8 Brent McKee
    April 17, 2007

    The social nannies of society like the Parents Television Council already blame just about everything on sex and violence on TV, and in a recent statement (made on April 10, so not directly linked to the events at Viginia Tech but still…) Senator Daniel Inouye – a man for whom I normally have almost overwhelming respect – said in support of a bill to allow the FCC to “regulate” violent content on TV, “If we sit around and wait until we believe we have the perfect bill, in the meantime, thousands will be murdered from lessons they learn on television.” So I suspect in the next couple of days we’ll see someone putting TV on the list alongside Islamic Terror, Secular Humanism (with Evolution at it’s heart), and Video Games.

  9. #9 Phil
    April 17, 2007

    Somebody else already pointed this out on Myers’s post regarding Debbie Schlussel, but she does throw the word “Paki” around a bit in there. Where I’m sitting in the UK, calling a Pakistani person or anyone from South Asia a “Paki” is equivalent in morality and likely consequences to throwing “n****r” or “y*d” at someone of the relevant background in the US. I wonder if Schlussel knows that and did it deliberately, or if she’s been mixing with British racists to such a degree that she thinks it’s neutral?

  10. #10 MartinC
    April 17, 2007

    Phil,
    I guess she is doing it for the shock value and the right wing street-credibility she gets from using expressions that rile up people who are not her supporters. She is getting quite defensive about the matter on her site at the moment when people point out that she is doing the equivalent of calling black people by the N-word. Time for a letter or two to CNN to ensure they upgrade their current standard of commentators ?
    As you can see, typing in block capitals really helps make your point seem so much more reasonable.

    “WHAT IS THIS–ETHNICITY LESSONS FROM SNOOP DOGG (A/K/A “I CAN CALL THEM HOS AND NIGGAZ BUT YOU CAN’T”)?! UH, SORRY, BUT I DON’T TAKE MY LEXICON AND LINGUISTIC DICTATES FROM YOU. I SUPPOSE NOW YOU’LL BE ATTACKING ME FOR USING THE TERMS CANUCKS, GIRLIE-MEN, AND WIMPS–ALL WHICH LIKELY DESCRIBE YOU. BUH-BYE. VAMOOSE. IT’S SO PAKI-LICIOUS TO SEE YOU ALL UP IN ARMS, OH INTERNET VERSION OF SHARPTON.
    DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL”

  11. #11 Dale
    April 17, 2007

    Instread of this…

    kNOw God, kNOw meaning.
    kNOw God, kNOw life.
    kNOw God, kNOw hope.

    maybe people should wear T-Shirts with

    No God, know meaning
    No God, know life
    No God, know hope

    Sure looks more appropriate to me.

  12. #12 J-Dog
    April 17, 2007

    Dale – Excellent! Get out the silk-screens, and cotton tees, and fire that sucker up! I need at least 2, one XL and one M

  13. #13 TheProbe
    April 17, 2007

    One inescapable fact about school school shootings is that they have all occurred in areas where it is easy to purchase guns.

    More guns = more deaths

  14. #14 gravitybear
    April 17, 2007

    TheProbe: One inescapable fact about school school shootings is that they have all occurred in areas where it is easy to purchase guns. < \i>

    So basically the entirety of the US. Is there anywhere in the US where it is difficult to get guns?

  15. #15 Lucas McCarty
    April 17, 2007

    I should also add that even though handguns were banned in 1996, gun crime in the UK has rocketed.

    And it isn’t like the guns floated through the doors, loaded themselves and started shooting.

    I think it works like alcohol addiction: it’s not the drink, but the attitude to drink. The left in the US are wrong in their pro-control stance because they target the guns themselves, which is the wrong target. The gun lobby is wrong because they seem to pay only lip-service to idea of responsible ownership.

    On all sides and angles, I think it’s pretty hilarious(in a sad way) that the gunner’s name hasn’t even been released, we know nothing about him, but everyone is already coming to their own conclusions about why he did it.

  16. #16 Mercurio
    April 17, 2007

    We live in an era when public high schools and colleges have all but banned God from science classes. In these classrooms, students are taught that the whole universe, including plants and animals–and humans–arose by natural processes. Naturalism (in essence, atheism) has become the religion of the day and has become the foundation of the education system (and Western culture as a whole). The more such a philosophy permeates the culture, the more we would expect to see a sense of purposelessness and hopelessness that pervades people’s thinking. In fact, the more a culture allows the killing of the unborn, the more we will see people treating life in general as “cheap.”

    So, he’s asserting that the “naturalistic foundations” of Western education systems slowly make people atheists who hardly value (even human) life. That’s why quite liberal and/or secular nations like Japan, France and the Netherlands have considerably more gun related homicides and school shootings than the 80%+ Christian US of A, right? Wait. No, it’s the other friggin’ way round!
    Yeah, this Christian morality, he wants so desperately, sure prevents these tragedies from happening.

  17. #17 Carlie
    April 17, 2007

    Also, he seems to be directly targeting the American school systems, when the latest news is that the shooter may be a student who didn’t grow up here.

  18. #18 Peter McGrath
    April 17, 2007

    We can only understand why these things happen by understanding Genesis 1-11? In Genesis 6,7,8 and 9 God does invent and commit genocide.

    I feel a new insult coming on: What a hamker.

  19. #19 Crudely Wrott
    April 17, 2007

    Why is this event surprising?

    We have for decades (millennia?) tried to convince ourselves that if no one can have power over anyone else then life will be nice. You know, nice.

    This approach totally ignores the fact that power over others is a cheap commodity, freely available especially to those who think that passion is legislatable or amenable to interpretation. See definition of government.

    I say again, Strength is easy, Power is very tricky.

  20. #20 Prup aka Jim Benton
    April 17, 2007

    Lucas McC: I would appreciate some statistics on your claim. Every article I’ve read has shown the opposite.

    They have no found out that the shooter was Korean, but nothing more about him has been released. There goes the ‘Muslim’ idea, since very few Koreans choose that particular religious idiocy.

    Not only does the US have many more gun crimes than other countries, but gun homicides and other homicide rates are MUCH higher in the ‘Bible Belt’ states — only partly because the Fundie-Republican link has gotten the extremists to consider gun laws (like taxes) anti-Christian.

    But more important than any of this is the fact that this was a tragedy — whatever the cause eventually turns out to be — and our hearts should go out to the parents and friends of the victims, and as much to those who survived the attack but who will always have the memories with them.

  21. #21 cleek
    April 17, 2007

    fascinating that he blames American culture… given that the shooter was South Korean.

  22. #22 tim gueguen
    April 17, 2007

    Ham better watch his accusation flinging. Of those professing a religious faith in South Korea a large percentage are Protestants or Catholics, so its possible this nutbar would rationalise his crimes via something he read in the Bible.

  23. #23 Adam
    April 17, 2007

    In a way I feel sorry for these people. They are just trying to make sense of a very scary world, the same as the rest of us, in the only way they know how.

    Their beliefs give them easy answers to difficult problems. Sure, the answers aren’t any good, but some people can’t deal with the ambiguity of random tragedy. “Knowing” where to assign the blame restores desperately needed order to the universe.

  24. #24 TheProbe
    April 17, 2007

    TheProbe: One inescapable fact about school school shootings is that they have all occurred in areas where it is easy to purchase guns.

    So basically the entirety of the US. Is there anywhere in the US where it is difficult to get guns?

    ———–

    No, that is incorrect. The guns used in this mass murder were legally purchased. There are states, like NY, NJ and Massachusetts where handguns cannot be readily purchased. There is a very difficult process in NY for handgun purchase.

  25. #25 Josh
    April 17, 2007

    I see only one side in this Blog. (Atheistic Scientist) Can you think of anything good from the other? (Creationist) If not then why are there people on the other? Sometimes if you look at both sides evenly then it gives one a better ability to discern which is right.

    You spend all your time trying to discredit God. That’s why you don’t see God.
    God reveals himself to those who seek him not discredit him.
    No he can’t you say? If there is a God, yes he can …He’s smarter then you
    I know for a fact God is real. You will never see him until you start looking up.

    None of you here want there to be a God. Why? Because that means you won’t be God anymore and plus you have no desire to have a relationship with him if he is there.

    I could write many books on all the supernatural miracles I’ve witnessed from God… And you would just call me a liar or an idiot… or even more so of what I get is I hallucinate. Am I a liar? No. Repenting Christians don’t lie.

    Now let’s look at the facts. If a repenting Christian sees God act. Ex- God tells me something in a different language which was the answer to my thought right before I even thought it. Then this would show that God controls time. Is this evidence?
    Not for a scientist. A scientist needs to see and experience something for themselves in order for it to be real. Is there a way to see and experience God? Yes. All you have to do is repent and believe his word with 100 % surety. ….
    “A scientist read Gods word looking for nothing he found nothing”
    “A man looking for God read Gods word and he stumbled across a question” how is that possible he asked God because it was Gods.” God saw his heart and knew his motives and then answered him.

  26. #26 TheProbe
    April 17, 2007

    Posted by: Prup aka Jim Benton:
    Not only does the US have many more gun crimes than other countries, but gun homicides and other homicide rates are MUCH higher in the ‘Bible Belt’ states — only partly because the Fundie-Republican link has gotten the extremists to consider gun laws (like taxes) anti-Christian.
    ——

    Quite correct. In fact, in those states one finds “swap meets” where anyone with cash can buy any gun that is for sale. No background checks, etc.

    The NYPD has reported in the past that the majority of guns used in NYC crime got their start in those states.

    As for the families of the victims, I hope that one day they will heal. In a way, the shooter stole both their loved ones, and one of the ways some people, i.e. participate in the criminal justice system.

  27. #27 Orac
    April 17, 2007

    You spend all your time trying to discredit God.

    No, I spend my time supporting sound science and evidence-based medicine. In this post I was simply pointing out that it’s ridiculous to blame atheism and evolution for the evil act of a deranged individual. I find the assertion that secularism and atheism will lead to hopelessness that will lead to this sort of violence particularly ridiculous. I could equally counter Ham’s point by saying that the hope for eternal paradise in heaven can just as well lead, for example, religious terrorists to fly jetliners into large buildings to kill thousands of people of people or to bomb abortion clinics.

  28. #28 steppen wolf
    April 17, 2007

    Is it only me, or is it not clear enough that gun control is the problem here?

    Say one state allows you to buy guns. The one next to you has strong restrictions. Mind you, you are in the same country. Now, how hard is it for you to get a weapon from somebody who just had to cross the border(s) – mind you, within the same country?

    I think the principle of “herd immunity” could apply here – i.e. a state that enforces strict gun control (and that is not Virginia’s case to start with), but is surrounded by others that do not have these strict laws, will probably not see a conspicuous decrease in gun crime if most of the gun-related crimes involve intentionality – while, according to the idea of herd immunity, one permissive state in the middle of states with strict gun control might be also “protected”. If one can drive with no passport and custom checks to another state – within the same country – then either all states apply gun control laws, or restricted application of the law is not going to make any difference overall. That, at least, is the hypothesis I would make.

    The religion issue here does not apply at all, or might apply the other way round: South Korea is known to have strong Protestant or even Evangelical communities, and chances are that the South Korean student (was he a student?) was some kind of Christian. So blaming this on atheism is simply agenda setting.

    Something really makes me wonder even more: do you ever hear of this kind of shootings happening in schools worldwide, as much as you hear it coming from the U.S.? Are we sure that, on top of lax gun control, there is a strong “gun culture” or – can I say this? – a generally accepted “bearing arms=individual rights” frame that you will not find in other places (unless you are in a Brazilian favela)?

    Maybe that is something for people to start thinking about. Maybe, if people in the U.S. wanted to start looking at this, in the future we might not hear about horrifying things such as the Virginia Tech killings anymore.

  29. #29 LEWIS_STOOLE
    April 17, 2007

    I thought it was due to an increase in sun spot activity

  30. #30 bybelknap
    April 17, 2007

    Orac,
    That Josh feller posted the exact same drivel over at PZ’s blog in the “A Better Way” thread.

    Trolling by Template. How droll.

  31. #31 batchelorpad
    April 17, 2007

    Why can’t the person be responsible for their choice to commit the crime and not loss of religion, God, gun control, etc? I agree that most cultures have morals and murder is not to be tolerated. This individual made a choice, a pre-meditated action to go to campus and commit mass murder. It doesn’t matter WHY. It just matters that it occurred.

    It isn’t about gun control–criminals are perfectly capable of breaking the law and finding/acquiring weapons when they want them. It is about being able to make our own choices, but the forgotten piece is that when we make irresponsible choices we reap the consequences of those choices. (not sure if suicide is a consequence justice can live with or not).

    As for gun laws…there are so many laws on the books that are NOT enforced or are overlooked. If only the government is allowed to have guns, how will we protect ourselves in the future? I am curious if you think that the government would admit to it’s wrongful incarcerations and shootings of the innocent? (there is swampland in Florida for sale for you….)

    Why should the gun owners who are not criminals be penalized for the choices of individuals like Columbine and Virginia Tech shooters? Why should law-abiding citizens not be able to protect their homes and families from people who choose to maim and murder?

    Now, I don’t carry a gun or have one in my house. But I still believe in the right to have one for those who are law-abiding. So here is my devil’s advocate question:

    If there had been one person trained and packing in the first classroom this student shooter walked into, do you think the shooter would have had the opportunity to murder 32? Or would a brave student, like the one who stayed with his injured classmates and barricaded the door, had he had a handgun, would it have ended sooner with less carnage???

  32. #32 Frank
    April 17, 2007

    steppen wolf,

    My instinct is to agree with you on the desirability of more gun control. (Why do people really need to have free access to AK-47s and semi-automatic weapons anyway?) I’m not sure, tho, how much it would actually accomplish. Even if a large majority favored strong control, how much more effective would prohibition of guns be than prohibion of alcohol was back in the 30s? And what about the unintended consequences? Who is it that makes money (lots of it) when something desirable is not legally available? Would tight gun control create another illegal drug industry and all that goes with it?

    I’m not usually a pessimist, but I’d be a stronger supporter of tight gun controls if I thought they would actually work.

  33. #33 David Helms
    April 17, 2007

    The shooter was a permanent resident from South Korea whose family lives in Northern Virginia. The probability is very high that he may be Presbyterian, as the South Korean Presbyterian churches are very active here.

  34. #34 Brian
    April 17, 2007

    Quite correct. In fact, in those states one finds “swap meets” where anyone with cash can buy any gun that is for sale. No background checks, etc.

    Quite incorrect. All federal laws regarding background checks apply at gun shows, just as they do in gun stores.

  35. #35 robd
    April 17, 2007

    Frank,
    it will not be prohibition, but better regulation.
    If you need minimum requirements for registration and training/education before being allowed to own a gun (like for owning/driving a car)that will not limit serious users much (e.g. hunters) but can limit the number of guns available to nut-cases.
    For example, Switzerland has many guns per million inhabitants, but well has it regulated.

  36. #36 ed
    April 17, 2007

    I guess Hamm is saying that he does`nt know gods word or literal history of genesis 1-11.Because he says “I don`t know why he did what he did”and then goes on to say that people will not understand what he did, without the word of god and the literal history of genesis 1-11.WTF?Also thanks Jeff for the headache! And yes Jeff I think you are both an idiot and a liar my head hurts…….

  37. #37 steppen wolf
    April 17, 2007

    Hi,

    Gun control does seem to make a difference. At least if one considers that the U.S. are the nation in the “West” with the most deaths caused by gunfire. There are other nations (like Russia, Brazil, South Africa…) that have higher death rates, but then we need to start considering organized crime. Not that Western nations are immune – not at all – but the number of deaths from organized crime in Western nations is most probably way lower. Take a walk in Rio de Janeiro to get an idea… – I have done that, but I do not have those specific stats at hand, so it really is my personal feeling.

    I have posted some media resources on the V Tech massacre with some attention to the “points of view” being taken by the media at the current moment. That also includes some links to UN stats on number of deaths caused by firearms not posted in U.S. media websites.

  38. #38 Heraldblog
    April 17, 2007

    Is it too soon to blame Ken Ham for the VTech massacre?

  39. #39 Ben McCarty
    April 18, 2007

    It is well-known that guns are becoming a problem in Britain Jim. The Home Office’s statistics show it and the government brought in yet another law making illegal posession of a gun carry an automatic five year prison sentence to try and fight it.

    It’s easier to find a news article(MUCH easier) than it is to find government statistics because of the way public information is handled in this country. The Office of National Statistics website hurts my eyes and nearly seems to require an official request under the Freedom of Information Act. I was suprised though to see this article on the BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1440764.stm

  40. #40 paragwinn
    April 18, 2007

    Ken Ham: Naturalism (in essence, atheism) has become the religion of the day and has become the foundation of the education system (and Western culture as a whole). The more such a philosophy permeates the culture, the more we would expect to see a sense of purposelessness and hopelessness that pervades people’s thinking. In fact, the more a culture allows the killing of the unborn, the more we will see people treating life in general as “cheap.”

    When have people NOT treated life in general as “cheap”? Such an attitude cannot be attributed solely to the introduction of naturalism. It’s more likely attributable to the idea of a Promised Land or to wagers between spiritual entities over a man’s motivation to honor a god. The kind of general response to the VT horror is indicative of a greater appreciation for life today than that depicted in the Bible.

  41. #41 Melanie
    April 18, 2007

    Cho was a paranoid schizophrenic, a very sick puppy. Yes, I think we need better gun laws in this country, but this guy was not a rational actor and had not been for some time. What we need is a better mental health system and better commitment laws.

  42. #42 Da' Vane
    April 19, 2007

    Treating life as “cheap” is quite common for certain Christian individuals throughout history, simply by defining what group of “humanity” has values (Christians) and which do not (non-Christians). It’s not something limited to Chrisitians, but Christians do take part in this practice.

    The saddest thing is that it has been 10 years since Columbine, the first of this type of incident that was highly popularised by the media, and quite a lot of the response is “whatever.” It’s not so much that life isn’t valued, but that it is too frequently lost for many people to care. The first time is tragic, but afterwards it gets a little mundane.

    And, incase you were wondering, the media response is a ‘moral panic’ – we’ve had the incident, and we’re now going through the claim stage where all sorts of theories are thrown out. Sooner or later such theories get whittled away to one or two, and it’s pretty clear the ‘claim’ will inevitably become about ‘gun control’ – so expect an increase in the media portrayal of ‘gun crime’ in the coming months. There will be a wave of ‘anti-gun’ initiatives, mostly as knee-jerk reactions, as well negative portrayals of ‘gun owners’ in the press. I suspect the texan survivalist stereotype will be banded about a bit. You should know the drill by now.

    I recall a favourite quote about gun control – ‘If you outlaw guns, then only outlaws will have guns.’

  43. #43 Artistradio
    April 21, 2007

    The hardest lesson to learn form this is that there is no magic solution that could have stopped all that. Gun Control didn’t stop Cho from killing over 30 people. And out of 300,000 gun crimes in 2005 listed in the FBI data base, only 180 justifiable homicides were made so an 80′s Rambo fantasy is just that. Sometimes we need to learn that S*** happens and move on.

  44. #44 Johnny Foreigner
    April 21, 2007

    My, my…don’t some people have short memories? Wasn’t the Beslan massacre of the innocents committed in the name of God? Perhaps an atheistic and materialistic intervention into the education of the sick thugs who carried that out might have prevented the atrocity from ever happening.

  45. #45 X: THC
    April 22, 2007

    Question Marks…

    “This didn’t have to happen”, Cho Seung-Hui said, after brutally murdering thirty-two people at Virginia Tech University.

    And this terrible tragedy of sons, daughters, mothers and fathers didn’t have to happen, if we’d only listened.

    But we never listen.

    We never listen to those that are different from us- the outcasts, the lonely, the homeless, the ones that are unspoken for. We don’t try to understand. We shun them and put them out of our minds because of our fear that we will become like them.

    And these people become more and more lonely and alienated in their isolation.

    Words like “creep”, “deranged misfit” and “psycho” devalue this killer’s humanity so we don’t have to face how similar he is to us. Cries of “how could he have been stopped” are uttered by media quick to sensationalize and gain market share, when the words “how could he have been listened to” are never considered.

    Because we don’t want to listen.

    We don’t want to hear about loneliness and alienation when we’re all so busy with our lives, making money and making friends. And the unpopular, the ones that don’t fit in, the lonely ones are ignored or made fun of because we don’t care to understand anything about them.

    As a boy, Cho Seung-Hui “was picked on, pushed around and laughed at over his shyness” (Associated Press). When he started college, according to the Guardian, “his mother took his dormitory mates to one side to explain about her son’s unusual character and implored them to help.”

    And he clearly needed help, devaluing himself so much that he called himself “Question Mark”.

    There are more “Question Marks” out there. There are millions of them. And if we don’t listen to them, they will follow the same path again and again, because people are not connecting. We are becoming more and more disconnected from each other, creating more and more “Question Marks” every day.

    Most “Question Marks” don’t become murderers. Some just kill themselves. Most harm no one and live just as we do, needing antidepressants to appear what we call “normal”. They may be someone you know, someone you love.

    This “Question Mark” was once a little boy, who cried, and smiled and loved, He wanted to fit in just like you and I. But that desire to fit in transformed itself into anger towards a society that shunned and ignored him.

    How many more times will we shun and ignore the one that doesn’t fit in, the one in the corner, the one that’s different? When all we have to do is listen, before it’s too late.

    But we won’t.

    Thirty-two human beings who did not know Cho Seung-Hui were murdered.
    They were sons, daughters, fathers and mothers, with dreams of futures that will never come and children that will never be born. The thirty-two leave behind people that love them. People that are now scarred for life by this horrible day of death.

    To most of us that have not been directly involved, this tragedy will become a memory and fade like all the others that came before.

    And the “Question Marks” will appear with more frequency, again and again, because we don’t listen.

    We never do.

    —————

    http://www.x-thc.com

  46. #46 Justin Moretti
    April 23, 2007

    X: THC:
    Being bullied and excluded is never an excuse for what this guy did.

    As one of those “question marks” – children with odd personalities who are excluded and bullied – I have to stick up for the rest of us “question marks” who keep our grip on the difference between right and wrong; the difference between expressing fantasy-land methods of revenge on paper on the one hand and carving our names in other people’s blood in school or university hallways on the other. If he was out of control because of mental illness, those who should have been treating him (and possibly incarcerating him for his own safety until stable) bear part of the blame.

    We “question marks” have a duty to look after our fellow citizens too, you know. By saying it was his classmates’ ignorance and teasing that drove him to this, you are letting him off the hook and putting everyone else (including the dead and the grieving) on it. I suspect in his psychotic nihilism he would have felt he could not be helped, and would either not have sought it, or rejected it if offered.

    It is his decision to purge 32 other people from this planet as well as himself which in the end has made him truly worthless in my eyes. If I went out and did this, I would expect and deserve nothing but hatred and contempt after the event, not pity, regardless of what was wrong with me. I would probably stick around to face the music in court. At least Martin Bryant had the guts to do that, or maybe he didn’t have the wherewithal at the end to kill himself.

    If I sound callous, it’s because I’ve been in this guy’s shoes (as X-THC defines them – odd personality and teasing/exclusion) and came out the other side without hurting anybody; from my perspective, he has no excuse (except perhaps overt paranoid psychosis which removes his criminal responsibility) and we have no need for overwrought universal self-blame.

    I’m sure more will come out in the ensuing weeks about his true state of mind; for now, I’m going to watch this space and keep the blame for thirty two murders where it belongs – on the guy who pulled the trigger.

    (Concerning gun swap meets: Most of the people in Australia (and possibly elsewhere depending on laws) who go to firearm “swap meets” already have their permit to purchase in hand, applied for over a month ago in anticipation of the meet and the hope of finding the right gun (from the target/hunting/collector’s perspective) for them (the application covers a broad class of firearm, not a particular make and model). Occasionally police are there on the day to process the applications on the spot (as with a recent case in which a prominent collector died and a charity auction was held for his firearms).)

  47. #47 Robin Lionheart
    April 23, 2007

    Unfortunately for Ken Ham, it turns out Cho was a religious nut with a messiah complex. (“Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people.”)