Friday, April 20, 2007

Horror and Context

I really don't know what to say that hasn't been said about this week at Virginia Tech. Anger, dismay, hopelessness, fear, anguish, all those things come and go. I've prayed and will continue to pray for the folks who were impacted, and I'll continue to ponder what could possibly poison a human to the extent that they'd do such a thing.

I'm aghast that none of the events in this young man's life leading to this tragedy clued in the powers that be, but then again, as an ex-cop, I'm not surprised. I'm blown away that a 'right to privacy' dictates that warnings can't be effectively heeded, and yet again, I'm not surprised.

had they kicked Cho Seung-Hui out of Virginia Tech, would it have stopped what happened? I'm afraid not: He'd have done it at a community college, or a business, or a library, or a McDonalds. His fate was set, and short of locking such a person away in solitary, we're not likely to come upon something that's going to derail this kind of thing. It is a sad, but probably true statement that this kind of savagery, this kind of anger and violence is all too often at the core of human hearts, and when it can do so, it will come forth.

It is also not lost upon me that, a couple of days after Cho's bad craziness, a truck full of explosives in a Baghdad market kills 128 people and wounds over 300 more. The primary difference, of course, is that over there, this sort of thing happens almost every day: In fact, almost every day, a massacre of the magnitude of Virginia Tech is happening in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Rwanda, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and too many more to name now.

In Africa alone, it's estimated that something like 9.5 million people have died violently, as a direct result of conflict and war. points out that, were this to be occurring in Europe, "then people would be calling it World War III with the entire world rushing to report, provide aid, mediate and otherwise try to diffuse the situation," and they're absolutely right. Why that is the case, and why things aren't being done is a subject for another time.

Here and now, I'm writing all this because these are the thoughts and considerations running through my head. What happened at Virgina Tech is a horror, plain and simple, and I have no doubt that things will be done, steps will be taken, laws will be made or changed, to try and stop such things from ever happening here again.

And yet, I gotta say: The heart of darkness is spread all over this world, so what about everywhere else? Cops have a saying about burglary: If a bad guy really wants to get into your house, he's gonna find a way. In other words, locking the door ain't gonna cut it.

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