Thursday, April 19, 2007
Virginia Tech Shootings
I'm shocked speechless. I've been watching the news and the story unfold.
All the special issue types have been out flogging their positions. And, frankly their positions don't matter because gun control, or not, or whatever other issues are being flogged, or not, this shooting could not have been prevented by a special issue law being passed.
The shooter was a young man who snapped. Why? We don't know and may never really know.
How do we prevent this? By keeping close contact with our children? Understanding their issues, and intervening when necessary? Unfortunately, the professors and administrative staff, counselling staff, etc. are overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of students on campus. How can we expect them to know what's going on in the minds of one? Children are notorious and more than capable of hiding these issues from their parents.
2007/4/23. Update: According to the Montel Williams show, two of Cho's classmates stated that he was a shy boy who suffered through years of malicious harassment at his high school.
2007/4/19. Update: According to the Collegiate Times, Virginia Techs' Student Newspaper: "A court order in 2005 declares Cho as an "Imminent danger" to himself and others. Another court order by VA. Special Justice declares Cho as "MENTALLY ILL."" The Head of the English Department made every effort to get him the help he needed, and to protect her students, within the existing laws.
Dawson College's shooter (Montreal Canada) wasn't even a student, just another young man who snapped.
Focusing on security, on gun control, on other special issues is not going to stop the killing. It hasn't stopped the killing.
We have gun control in Canada. The Dawson College shooter had a legally registered and licensed gun which he used to kill and injure students and finally kill himself.
They don't have gun control in Virginia (as far as I know). The Virginia Tech shooter had 2 illegal guns which he used to kill and injure students and finally kill himself.
2007/4/18. Update: According to the Collegiate Times, Virginia Techs' Student Newspaper: "The weapons found on the scene in Norris Hall have been found to have been legally purchased by Cho according to Virginia gun laws."
In my opinion, while the protection of our children is important and their security has to be provided for, the best protection we can offer, is to try to find out why some of our children are snapping in this way. What are the pressures they are facing and why do they see shooting, then suicide, as a reasonable option? What is driving them to snap?
How do we do this? I don't know, I don't have the answers. Those with the right expertise in these areas need to provide us with the answers and implement solutions. Until they do, our children will continue to be at risk of becoming shooters or becoming the victims of shooters.
No matter how much security we have, if someone is determined they will find a way to get past it.
How are we failing our children? They are crying out for our help. Let's get past the special issue agendas, find out what they need and provide it to them.
My condolences go out to the families of the children who were murdered and wishes that the injured children will heal quickly and well.