a few thoughts on the shootings at Virginia Tech

17 04 2007

The shootings at Virginia Tech are a tragedy, and I certainly expect it to consume the newscasts, as it did.  However, something that troubled me was how some of the news people were quick to blame police and school officials before facts were even known.  It’s reasonable to expect those involved were doing what they thought was best, given what they knew at the time.  (If they weren’t, they should be fired.  But I haven’t heard of any intentional slacking on their part.)  It’s not good journalism to jump to conclusions, and when they ask officials the same questions over and over, it’s not only annoying but it wastes their time.

After a tragedy like this, of course we should ask questions of how we can better prevent future problems of this type.  But casting blame on people the same day, without knowing the facts, is irresponsible and misleading.

Today, the day after the shootings, schools in seven states were locked-down or evacuated because of threats, some of them directly referencing the murders at Virginia Tech.  Not only do we need to look at improving security at schools, but we need to look at what is wrong with our society.  Obviously, this kind of behavior is not good.  The fact that these actions are occurring more frequently now reveals that our morals are on a downward slope.  I realize many people don’t want to look at our society’s morals and what we entertain ourselves with, but this kind of stuff doesn’t just happen.

Former FBI agent Brad Garrett says that most school shooters tend to be mentally stable.  People don’t just go out and do something like this because they had a bad day.  This happens when negative issues aren’t resolved.  Repressing anger, hurts, and bitterness leads to hate, which leads to explosive outbursts if not dealt with.  That’s why it’s so important to work through the issues we face.  It may seem easier to repress negative emotions, but they will fester and grow while buried underneath the surface.  It’s similar to how you can have a few bad days, where everything seems to be going wrong and it’s piling up inside, then someone says or does something that triggers all that rage to come out and you say or do something totally inappropriate for the situation.  We call that losing our temper, but it’s a product of unresolved issues forcing themselves out.  Fortunately, it’s usually not that bad for most of us, but if left unchecked for years, it can make us do bad things we wouldn’t normally do.  (I know this might be tough to swallow, but think about it…)

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One response

18 04 2007
Beppo

Notice how the killer blamed everyone else for his problems, according to his suicide letter. He blamed rich people and others’ debauchery for his anger. He effectively converted the people around him into his problem, thereby getting rid of his problems meant getting rid of people.

Blaming other people seems to be becoming more and more common in our country. Consider how many people blame President Bush for all the country’s problems. (Granted, he is the President, but he isn’t responsible for managing every thing.) But it’s not just on that level — many people these days blame other people and circumstances for their problems, instead of taking personal responsibility about it. You can see how this leads down a path of irresponsibility and irrationality.

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