Friday, April 20, 2007

Virginia Tech Massacre Reveals A Sick and Tired Society

I haven't seen the controversial Cho videos--seeing the gun pointed at his own head picture on Drudge was enough for me. After watching the CNN interviews with Cho's roommates, I decided that I didn't want to watch any Cho anymore. And I haven't. I said this yesterday and it sounds like I'm not alone in my belief:

He was rational enough to use and manipulate the media. He knew what they would do, and they did. (More here.) They worked as a team, Cho and the media. In fact, other murderous (crazy? sick? evil?) terrorizers use the media in a cold and calculating way, too. They, too, justify their actions and blame the victims. None of these people appear insane. They seem consumed by hate--so much so that they value no life, including their own.
The parents are rightly outraged at the glorification of the criminal. The criminal is always glorified in the media. Even I have dedicated two long posts (here and here) dissecting the societal explanation for such murderous behavior. Two posts reported the news (here and here). Two posts covered the victim's families and remembering the heroes (here and here). And one post was philosophical. I'd like to think my blog has been balanced. If it were my child who had been shot, though, the notion of there even being "balance" would make me sick.

This is a story of one bad guy, a number of fallible authorities, many heroes, and scores of people who had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. For the latter a scripture in Ecclesiastes 9 is helpful:
11I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all.
Does that mean it doesn't matter what we do with our gifts and talents cause we might die tomorrow? No. It does matter. And I, for one, believe a man like Professor Liviu Librescu, was meant to survive the Holocaust to save his fellow man. Everyone of his students lived because of his sacrifice. In his case, one life bought many. What a blessing he is to his family, his community and the world. His sacrifice mattered.

Still, as weak humans, we are all subject to time. We will all die eventually. Hebrews 9:27 says, "It is appointed for all men once to die; and then, the judgment." So, good or bad, we will all die and answer for the life we've lived. If, by time and chance, we're cut short by some evil-doer, it can be just a random evil. It doesn't have to be reason-filled to die in this way--we are all affected by chance.

And still, ALL things work together for good for those who love God, to those called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) So even something so despicable and evil can give rise to something good. For a start, it would be nice if the media would acknowledge their accomplice-like behavior in elevating the brutal, evil and criminal. These days, the media coverage, more than the elimination of a rival, is the goal of the killer. For the media to collectively ignore that fact is such self-serving willful stupidity.

Additionally, for the media to obsess over guns when the problem is clear to everyone with eyes to see is politically driven garbage. An evil, psychotic (take your pick), vengeful man externalized his hate in a murderous rampage. Gun, knife, car, plane, hands, pick the weapon. The problem was a person. He alone bears responsibility for his decision. Every moral American sees this obvious fact.

The American public has been subjected to a barrage of biased coverage painting acts of stupidity as earth-moving (Imus) and minimizing atrocities by validating a killer's externalizing of blame (Cho). And while Cho mowed down his fellow students at V-Tech, terrorist groups did the same thing in Iraq for the same reason: because they know that blood and guts gets the coverage. Americans are not stupid. They get where the press is coming from. Sometimes I think the MSM ups the amperage because they think that yelling will drive home the point. Everyone has got the point. They are just not buying it.

And the Press is not the only group who doesn't get it. Congress grilled Gonzoles yesterday. Big whup. Another guy who doesn't get it. Refuses to get it. (He sat there and defended the government's action about the border patrol agents sitting in prison for shooting a drug runner in the ass while smuggling tons of drugs over the border.) The Democrats and Republicans collude to obscure transparency in their hallowed halls. They want to continue using American's money without Americans knowing for what. Americans are sick of it and them.

Finally, under all these problems lies a foundation of politically correctness. No one can be labeled crazy or evil. That makes the powers that be nervous. Such concrete words. Such inflexible thinking. Well, there is evil in the world. In fact, the world is full of it and pretending it's not there just exposes the good people to harm. How much fear of being branded a bigot stopped people from dealing with the Cho problem? How afraid are people now of being perceived as close-minded that they'll ignore the evidence staring them in the face? Even more, how uncomfortable are we in the use of force that young, strong men are paralyzed in the face of evil? Yes. Men. A trained woman could have made a difference, too, but lets be real. A man, or men, of size and strength (or not, if he were armed) would need to use all of it to take down a killer hopped up on blood lust.

There seems to be a general contempt for moral clarity and those who practice it. Humble, used to be normal, American values are mushed up in a sea of nuanced swill. The leaders are awash in a narcissistic pursuit of power. The media glorifies evil and base behavior. But people watch it, they protest. Which people? Does their viewership represent the majority of Americans? I think they have deceived themselves into thinking they do.

I'm not sure the Virginia Tech tragedy (a bonifide, true tragedy in every sense of the word) will make any difference or improve our problematic leadership and media culture. The Press should be ashamed of their actions, but they seem beyond shame. Our government officials seem beyond shame. Our so-called thinkers seem beyond shame. I feel horrible, that in their time of grief, family and friends had to be the ones to push back against the press and reveal the shame, but there you go.

Here's hoping that good can come from the evil that's happened.


Anonymous said...

"Victimhood" in what ever form it comes, is always glorified. This only perpetuates the process and no REAL answers are found that way.

I think your coverage of Cho has been balanced as well. I agree with you though - the idea of "balanced" in a case like this seems, well - you know.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for a great and thoughtful blog...long time reader, but first time commenter.

I think that verse is one that has caused me so much thought over the years, until I became conscious of that clause in it: "...for those who love God, to those called according to His purpose..."

Without that clause, people truly tie the hands of God for the time that they in their will choose other. And the comfort we have in those cases is that even then the Atonement covers those sins and accounts for their damage, and makes a way for those called to receive healing/insight/restoration in spite of the rebellion of those who refuse to be called to God.

What I think you were saying was that God would work this event in the lives of all who love Him for His purpose and our good, but I am not real optimistic that organizations like the media or society at large will necessarily gain some good insight or have it all work out.

I apologize if I sound preachy...I sure do not mean to. I just have a negative check everytime I hear someone say "Everything happens for a reason" as if it is a magic phrase to fix everything, and then justify keeping right on with the same old broken ways that led to the happening.

Yes, everything happens for a reason...that reason is sin in a fallen world. All else happens from the Hand of a Providential God working in every area He is "allowed" to work, with of course His sovreign will and right to intervene as Creator as He wills.

Thanks again for your thoughtful and passionate blog. I am blessed every day by what you write, and espeicially blessed by this post I comment on. Thanks