The campus of Virginia Tech shall forever be hallowed and haunted ground. On Monday, April 16, 2007, Virgina Tech English major Cho Seung-Hui slaughtered 32 college students and professors in cold blood. Hui came to this country with his parents in 1992 and possessed a green card making him a legal resident. Dorm mates, fellow students, and faculty members described the troubled young man of South Korean descent as aloof, depressed, and uninvolved in the world and activities around him. Hui did make his way into the police blotter on two occassions in 2005. One incident involved a stalking complaint made by a female student and another referral came from a roommate concerned with what can be best described as Hui's suicidal depression. The red flags waved over the campus but apparently the administration and other school officials failed or chose not to recognize the warning signs. One of the professors "informally" expressed concern over the English major's graphic and twisted writings of horrific murder and macabre violence. Two and two started to add up to four but I guess no one felt intervening in the situation matched the risk of violating Hui's civil liberties or interfering with his freedom of expression. I wonder if anybody ever thought about the potential violations and civil deprivations of the now slaughtered students and their families.
Hui left behind an 8 page note describing in detail the real culprits and sources of blame for his rampant homicide spree. Apparently the kids of wealthy heritage and Christ himself maintain culpability in Hui's eyes. One line in the eight page letter of intent stated, "You made me do this." Yes of course we did. Talk about an arrogant outlook on the fundamental social tenet of personal responsibility. I am the product of a lower middle class upbringing and if he knew me I am sure Hui just as easily would have learned to abhor my presence and thoughts as well. Let us call a spade a spade. The kid would make the cover of Psychotic Sociopath magazine each of the twelve months of publication. Freud lives or at least his theories do. Sometimes a bad seed is a bad seed regardless of cultural input. Cho Seung-Hui is like that deformed calf the rancher finds struggling to get to its feet in a snow storm. It's just too bad we can't deal with psychopaths like Hui the same way a rancher does with that calf once the deformity is clear. The importance of his maniacal existence pales in comparison to the innocents murdered by his bloody hands.
The news media still holds much fear and loathing for guns in general. BB guns may get a pass but you can believe those of us that responsibly enjoy firearms and our Second Amendment freedoms will find ourselves ducking for cover in short order. I know that Glock 19 handgun probably took on a life of its own once in Hui's hands. It simply pointed itself at those unsuspecting and innocent students and proceeded to automatically fire while Hui held on for dear life. The coverage will shift in coming days as public mourning subsides and the armies of Rosie amass for an assault on law-abiding handgun owners in America. Hui took on the personna of a cowardly murderer. The pistols used in the commission of his haneous crimes were mere tools and incidental inanimate objects. His personal writings indicated his penchant for hammers and chainsaws. Let's try not to ignorantly personify guns.
I think this tragic incident spotlights major problems in our society and criminal justice system specifically. No you cannot censor the freedom of expression. No you cannot overburden the Constitution's protections of privacy and equal protection. But therein lies the problem. I am a novelist and write about graphic murder from time to time in the context of a fictional story. But I haven't been contacted by the police twice this year for stalking. I have yet to be referred by a friend to a mental health facility out of concern for my suicidal depression. We throw blanket protections on each case failing to analyze the big picture. Each case must be analyzed while keeping all the information in perspective. You cannot jump up and say this killer cannot be investigated after all the warning signs manifested themselves prior to the murders. No, don't censor someone artistically expressing their views and even their violent views in writing. But you damn sure better violate this type of person's civil liberties if the big picture clearly shows that he or she travels a path leading to absolute death and mayhem. Will we ever bring commonsense back into our daily processes or will we continue to provide blanket coverage and protections regardless of the impending doom that hovers above us in plain view?