Thursday, April 19, 2007

You don't know what Cho's problem was?!?!

As the Cho Seung-Hui shooting incident at Virginia Tech continues to develop, some of the commentary amazes me. I just saw a commentator on MSNBC on the Tucker Carlson show comment that he just didn't understand what Cho's problem was. You don't? Let me help you.

This was the kid that got picked on, that was uncomfortable in his own skin, that felt like an outcast, and was abused and bullied. In one of his video comments he makes mention of having garbage shoved in his mouth. That is not the sort of experience that fades from memory. He railed against the wealthy "brats", who no doubt were the kinds of people that psychologically bullied him the most. Being uninvited from all the big social events, or being laughed at by a group at a vulnerable moment, can be as painful for an outcast kid as a kick in the head.

We all remember those kids. Some of us, sometimes, were those kids. And many of us remember doing things to kids like that we'd rather we hadn't, as we look back with adult insights. Does any of this sound familiar? It should. It was true of the Colombine shooters.

Cho also apparently had a psychological disorder that had gone untreated. So we had an unhealthy mind subjected to abuse, and it exploded in a day of rage and 33 dead bodies. Those who focus on the guns are missing the big picture. What distinguished Cho from everyone around him wasn't access to guns. They all had access to guns. But they all did not have a sick mind subjected to sick treatment.

If Columbine didn't teach us this lesson, maybe Virginia Tech will. It is time for the abusive bullying, and unhealthy orchestrated ostracism that goes on in schools all over this country to be viewed as something unhealthy that should be actively discouraged, and not just "kids being kids". Playing tag and X-box are kids being kids. Having an occasional fight is kids being kids. Playing sports and actually keeping score and having winners and losers is kids being kids.

Having a group of children actively, in concert or not, torment kids that are weird, geeky, shy, psychologically unhealthy, etc., is not. It is a form of cruelty, plain and simple. If the injustice to the direct victims of that doesn't motivate you, perhaps the injustice to all those murdered kids at Virginia Tech will.

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