Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Campus Killer and the Carnival of Death

I tried to avoid the story of the campus killer today. Not because it's so tragic, but because it's so predictable.

The shock, the grief. The victims. The missed signals. The arguments over gun control. And of course the million stories about how the killer was a loner. I've heard them all before.

Cho Seung-hui was revealed to be a troubled loner of South Korean descent who left behind a disturbing note of grievances against his university saying: "You caused me to do this."

As if happy well adjusted kids with lots of friends commit mass murder and then blow their faces off....

And when is a kid a loner or just a lonely kid?

.....he was removed from class and received individual tutoring from Prof Roy. He attended sessions with a hat pulled down over his face and wearing dark glasses. "He just seemed like the loneliest man I've ever known," she said last night.

The quiet stranger in the crowd.

“I would notice a lot of times, I would come in the room and he would kind of be sitting at his desk, just staring at nothing,”

The sick and angry one.

That disturbing play should have set off alarm bells. Not just about whether he was a threat to others but whether he was a threat to himself. If they had treated him in time so many other lives could have been saved.

And why does the media waste so much time wondering why it keeps happening in schools?

For a lucky few, school and college are where we first distinguish ourselves. But for the majority, they are the site of first humiliation, subjugation and injury. They are almost always our first introduction to brutal social hierarchies, as they may also sponsor our first romantic devastation. What better stage on which to act out primitive retribution?

Or go on and on about copy cats when their overblown coverage is only making more of them?

Every time one of these stories breaks, every time the pictures flash round the world, it increases the chances that another massacre will follow. In the main, all of these events are copycat crimes. Campus shootings are now a genre, much as, in literature, campus-shooting novels are a genre....

It's a Carnival of Death. Don't these mediocre media dumbos understand anything? Don't they understand that their mindless mythologizing turned Eric Harris into an Avenging Angel. The fucking God of Angry Kids.

Because he did to his schoolyard enemies and bullies what they would like to do. But don't dare.

Hey Mr Bully how would you like a hole in your head? Bang bang bang. Now you're dead. Oh you're not? Bang. Now you are. And so am I. Ha ha ha.

And because he shared their rage....

"I hate the fucking world."

"Kill mankind.' No one should survive."

Why do you think all these shootings happen in April just like Columbine did?

Our brutish media can fall over themselves trying to see how many idiot stories they can recycle over and over again. Politicians can beat their breasts and issue vacuous statements. People can mumble prayers until their lips fall off. But it won't change a thing.

Until young mentally disturbed angry kids are reached in time....and can't buy guns like they buy cigarettes....until schools become better, safer and more human places, until our glorification of violence and revenge is extinguished...the killing will go on and on... as sure as rage is rage and blood is blood...and Eric Harris is the God of Angry Kids.

And that's all there is to say about this sad but predictable tragedy.

Until the next one....


  1. And unfortunately, there will be a next one. As long as any joe blow can walk into a gun shop and walk out with a semi-automatic handgun the madness isn't about to stop.

  2. Apparently Fred Phelps and his incestuous klan will be protesting at the funerals, and probably calling for laws to allow more people to carry guns, making racist comments, and the rest of their usual trash.

  3. Anonymous2:37 PM

    Once we stop pretending we can "prevent this from ever happening again", and instead realize that we must be vigilant and prepared to deal with its inevitability, we will be in a position to develop responses and policies that might actually make a difference.

  4. Anonymous10:19 PM

    If some students and faculty members had access to guns during the attack, there's a good chance they could have cut it short. According to witnesses, the killer -- identified by police as Cho Seung-Hui, a senior studying English -- took his time and paused repeatedly for a minute or so to reload.

    In shootings at other schools, armed students or employees have restrained gunmen, possibly preventing additional murders. Four years ago at Appalachian Law School in Grundy, Va., a man who had killed the dean, a professor and a student was subdued by two students who ran to their cars and grabbed their guns. In 1997 an assistant principal at a public high school in Pearl, Miss., likewise retrieved a handgun from his car and used it to apprehend a student who had killed three people.

    Not only can guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens save lives in situations like these; they may even make such situations less likely. It may seem implausible that the possibility of armed victims would deter a seemingly irrational, suicidal attacker such as Cho, who ended his attack by shooting himself in the head. But even a gunman who expects to die during an attack does not want to be stopped before he can carry out his homicidal mission.

  5. anon - and what about all the other shootings that happen by accident (or on purpose in the heat of the moment) because everyone's armed? They might just happen in 1's and 2's, but I'm sure that after a few years they'd exceed the 33 killed on Monday.

    Arming everyone to the teeth isn't the answer. Keeping guns out of the hands of maniacs might be helpful, though

  6. Anonymous1:24 PM

    You just can't put your head around that making the campus gunfree, they made it unsafe. Fact: If someone had a gun in one of those classes the shooter could have been stopped. As for your epidemic of rage killing and accidents when more people are armed,
    the facts show that not to be the case, what lame reasoning.