Earlier this week, I was writing a post for my blog that should have gone up a while ago. Unfortunately, the time at which I was writing it was at the start of my lunch period on Monday, April 14. Blogs (the writing and visiting of) are strictly forbidden at my school, so I finished my post in Google Documents and planned to publish it when I got home. The first thing I did after booting up my laptop was, like every day, to check my RSS feeds in Google Reader. The number of items I had to read had tripled from the average… and for the first few items, I thought, What’s all this about a university in Virginia…?
Suddenly what I had to say felt entirely irrelevant. Who can go about things as usual after that?
I followed the aftermath very closely in the news until I realized that it was become all about the murderer, Cho Seung-Hui, instead of the victims or even the incident itself. In all the major newspapers, I’ve seen maybe one of two stories about the victims, but lately it’s just become feature articles and columns about the killer’s pre-massacre behavior and mental illness and shyness, etc etc.
Imagine my discomfort when, one morning, the front page of every newspaper in my relatively peaceful Canadian city was covered with a picture of Seung-Hui pointing a gun menacingly at his audience. His name and face are omnipresent in the news right now. At this point, it’s just getting on my nerves. The news of a gun massacre on an innocent and unsuspecting college is sad and sobering; humoring the rants of an attention-craving and very disturbed young man is not. Seriously.
If you’ve seen the video and images, it’s clear that this guy was very disturbed and saw himself as a martyr (at one point he compares himself to Jesus Christ as having liberated people into taking action). Is it just me or does it look and sound like he’s reading from a script? According to many news sources, he was an English major, and wrote disturbing and just plain bad plays that are nothing more than violence and an exercise in using the word “fuck”. And the pictures he sent aiming various weapons at himself and the camera? Just plain narcissistic. He wanted nothing more than attention, and the press is giving it to him. I think the best way to pay tribute to the victims’ families and classmates is to stop indulging the posthumous wishes of the murderer.
A couple of days after the local newspapers all sported images of Seung-Hui on their overs, I was happy to see that they were full of angry editorials from others who felt the same way and demanded the papers to stop indulging this lunatic.
Actually, if anything, this event has reassured me of human sensibility. Sure, there have been a few big scares over copycat threats (the most notable being the recent one in Northern California when 36 schools were shut down after a man threatened to “make Virginia Tech look mild.”), but I’m seeing a lot of common sense up here in Canada. A recent poll was taken across the country, and while a majority of Canadians are worried about another mass shooting here (we just had one last September at Dawson College in Quebec), another majority also believes that if someone wants to commit that sort of mass murder, it’s “beyond the scope of anybody to do anything about it, regardless of what preventative measures are in place” – which is very true. One of the issues was giving guns to campus security, which was not supported by the majority, but this is Canada, and we don’t really like guns up here.
In any case, it’s so nice to hear that even though horrible things like this happen, people can still be sensible enough to deal with it.