I decided to break my silence and share some of my thoughts with what has happened over the past few days. My heart goes out to those at Virginia Tech. I'm sitting down right after hearing that NBC received correspondence from Cho Seung-Hui. The package had videos, images, and a disturbing letter. This story has captured the nation's interest and my own as someone who studied criminal justice for 4 years and psychology.
What exactly drives someone to do what Cho did? I read the small one act plays that he wrote and it's just amazing to me that someone would even turn that in for a class. I want to make it clear that I really do not fault the university at all. Yes, the professors and other students saw all the warning signs, but at the same time it's very easy to come out and say that now after all that has happened. The professors did what they should have as far as removing him from the class and getting him away from the students. I can understand why nothing was even done about it. It's very hard to do something when there is really not an outwardly huge sign that a person needs help. He had not hurt anyone or hurt himself up until the point that he savagely killed the students and staff members on Virginia Tech's campus. I'm not saying that he was a stable individual, but for those who say that he should have been caught ahead of time, they need to understand how tough it is. People fall through the cracks all the time on a college campus and even in some high schools...I should know, I work in an alternative ed where some of our kids are the kids who fell through the cracks. Unfortunately there's not any way to keep as watchful an eye on students at a university as we can at the school I work at.
I'm frustrated that people are yelling about gun control and concealed weapons. Guns do not kill people...people kill people. The gun is just the tool they use to carry out their act. You can put out as many gun control laws as you want, but the fact is that if someone wants a gun or other weapon bad enough, they are going to get it. Guns are not bad, and guns are not good....they're simply metal (or another material) that has been molded. The people behind the guns are what you have to worry about. I grew up around guns. I respect guns. I know how to use one and I wouldn't be afraid to use one if I had to. I'm prepared to defend myself and those close to me if I have to. Does the fact that I have access to a gun make me a person likely to commit mass murder? No. Was the gun shop owner wrong to sell the gun to Cho? No, not at all. All the laws were followed.
On the subject of concealed weapons and more gun control... Cho didn't have a concealed weapons permit, but there are those who have brought up the opinion that concealed weapons permits are awful and should be outlawed. I strongly disagree. Think about it for a second. If this had not been at a school...if it had been another soft target where concealed weapons were allowed to be carried and one of the victims had a concealed weapons permit and a concealed weapon on them, it's very possible that someone could have taken down the shooter before he finished his carnage. In many states like Michigan it is hard to get one of the permits. You much go through a lot of training and money in order to even get one. Am I saying that giving everyone a permit is the answer? Hell no. I know plenty of good people who are just not mentally stable in my mind that I would not want on the other end of the gun. Do I think that people should continue to have access to this type of permit? You bet you life I do.
I've been following all of the developments in this story very closely. I'm curious and horrified at the same time. Why did he do it? Why did he pick that place on that day? I've read the stories of the survivors and the victims over and over. The one that chilled me to the bone was the story of the student rescue worker who had to pick up the body bags and bring them to campus. He then helped to carry the bodies and count them. In his account of everything he said that as they tended to the bodies the victims cell phones and PDAs were ringing and vibrating. Phone calls were coming in that would never be answered. It's simply chilling.