Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hero Saved His Students--UPDATED

This story made me cry. For every act of cowardice there are amazing acts of bravery and courage.

Virginia Tech University Prof. Liviu Librescu, described as a family man who once did research for NASA, sacrificed his life to save his students in the shooting rampage yesterday.
"When he heard the gunfire, he blocked the entrance and got shot through the door," his daughter-in-law Ayala Schmulevich said.
"He realized he had to save the students," she said. "That was the kind of man he was."

UPDATE: Shrinkwrapped has a nice history of the notion of "running amok" and the correlation of violence after perceived loss of face in the Asian guilt-shame culture.

Amok is different in degree if not in kind from Honor-Shame murders. The particulars will likely offer some insight into the shame that propelled this young man to murder so many, but will never explain what twisted mechanism in his mind justified and triggered such an horrific event. A report on NPR this morning by an eye witness described how she heard shots and maniacal laughter during the spree; this would fit an Honor-Shame dynamic.

(You think I am nothing! I mean nothing to you! Well, now you can see and feel how important I am! I am powerful and feared! Like a god I can take life! My Honor has been restored.)

But like Shrink rightly notes, this man's actions pale in comparison to those who gave their lives to save their friends. The professor mentioned above was a Holocaust survivor and gave his life. He should be remembered. He should be honored.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Article doesn't mention that Prof. Librescu was a Romanian-born Israeli who had a number tatooed on his forearm.

Shrinkwrapped has an essay on it in today's blog. Including an analysis of Honor/Shame culture and the original (Malaysian) definition of "Amok".