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Bloodbath in Virginia: Blame, Panic and Unreasoning Fear

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On Monday Cho Seung-Hui decided to move on from writing violent revenge fantasies in English class to express his rage more publicly in an orgy of bullets, blood and death. He ended his own life and the lives of 32 others, and earned a place in the record books as one of the most successful mass murderers in history of the United States, passing George Hennard (1991 Killeen Luby's massacre) for the most firearm killings in a single incident.

In the aftermath there has been an awful lot of finger-pointing and blame assigning and suggestions of heavy-handed solutions to the problem which Cho represents. Some immediately blamed America's liberal gun laws, and Sen. Edward Kennedy suggested Congress might play a role in strengthening national gun control. To balance that out, others are blaming a recently passed Virginia law prohibiting concealed carry of firearms on the university campus which meant there were no armed citizens who could have stopped Cho's rampage. Dr. Phil jumped in before 24 hours had passed to blame violent video games. There was plenty of blame for the police for not figuring out what was going on more quickly, and acting to evacuate the campus or stop Cho's second round of shootings. Others placed the blame on the school administration for not planning better for such a crisis. There are even those who blame U.S. immigration policies for letting in too many foreign students. Whatever your pet issue, you can probably find some way to blame the shootings on it.

Whenever there is a tragedy like this the urge to place blame seems to overwhelm all common sense, all sense of proportion and even our awareness of some of the basic facts of life. We want to find someone who is responsible and punish them. We want to find some mistake that was made and correct it. We can't bring the dead back to life. We can't make Cho any deader than he made himself. So we look for something we can do — however ill-considered or meaningless — which will make us feel like we have some control over our environment. We want to think that we can make sure that there will never be another Cho or another massacre like this.

What we don't want at this point less than 48 hours after the events, is to face the simple truth. We don't want to admit that violence is a part of life and that no matter what lengths we go to, no matter what rights we sacrifice, and no matter what draconian policies we impose, we cannot completely control the world and we cannot prevent every possibility of random violence or even the simple threat of a madman going on a rampage.

Every day we live we're playing the odds. And the fact is that when it comes to mass murders, despite recent events, the odds are enormously on our side. Mass murders like this where more than 10 people are killed happen in the United States about once every three years and they've been happening at that frequency for generations. Most of them are not committed with guns. Bombs and arson are the most popular and the most lethal methods, used in seven out of the ten largest mass murders in US history.

We're all gambling with our lives just by going to work or walking down the street. Another Mark Barton could gun us down at our desks. Another David Burke could crash a plane into us on the drive home. Another Julio Gonzales could burn us alive inside our favorite bar. Don't feel safe if you don't live in the United States. In the last 30 years there have been similar mass murders in every major, populous nation. Don't think that stronger gun laws or even a police state are going to protect you. There have been similar killings in Australia, Canada, England, France, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Japan, and Italy. And those are just the ones I've heard of and the countries where such killings are considered unusual enough to take note of. All of those countries have stronger gun laws than the United States and yet their home-grown crazies have found ways to kill lots of people when the urge took them.

The good news is that when you gamble your life on the hope that today won't be your date with the next Cho Seung-Hui, you're betting with the odds enormously on your side. In the last century the total number of deaths from mass murders (defined as killings of five or more non-family members) in the United States totals fewer than 500 people (not including the victims of 9/11, which is classed as an act of war or terrorism). During that time more than half a billion people have lived and died in the United States. That means that your chance of dying in a mass murder like the one Monday at Virginia Tech are about 1 in 1.6 million. According to the National Science Council that would be about the same odds as your chances of dying in a streetcar accident (if you can even find a streetcar to die in). The scary flip-side of this is that your chances are about 1 in 84 of dying in a car crash and 1 in 218 of dying in an accidental fall.

Does this mean that you don't drive your car or that you just lie on the ground trembling so that you can't have a fatal fall? I suspect not. If we actually assessed the odds of our daily activities putting us at risk of death, based on the reaction to the Virginia Tech shootings, we'd probably live in such terror that we couldn't even function. Either the media and our society are massively overreacting to what happened in Blacksburg, or we're going to need to go out and buy a hell of a lot of foam rubber and diapers for our new lifestyle.

Sure, everyone should take reasonable precautions in their day to day life. And yes, we can probably identify some problems with how the Cho situation was handled. But take a step back and think for a minute. Is it worth all the panic and witch hunts and casting of blame? Is it worth living in fear? Is it worth sacrificing the freedoms that make life worth living? All just to try (and probably fail) to prevent the occasional random lunatic from killing a few people or even a few dozen people?

The media makes its living off of spreading panic and unease and keeping us riveted to a parade of tragedy. What they do is take the freakish and improbable and splash it across a billion screens and front pages and bring it into our living rooms. That doesn't make it a real threat to anyone but those directly involved. For most of us that kind of tragedy will never be more real than the events in a soap opera or a police drama. The media frenzy over these events is a cynical illusion manufactured to get ratings and sell ad space. Don't get sucked in and lose your perspective.

Every one of the deaths at Virginia Tech is tragic. But it would be even more tragic for us to waste our own lives or sacrifice our freedom or quality of life because we're worried about something so rare and so unlikely to ever happen to us or even anyone we know. Live your life and enjoy every minute of it, because the odds are so heavily on your side that no amount of fear or worry is going to improve them much.

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About Dave Nalle

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Thank you, Dave, for getting it right. The ONLY proper object for finger-pointing is Cho Seung-Hui. It runs no deeper, in any way shape or form, than a disturbed young man with violence in his sights.

    I completely understand the need for blame: it makes people feel as though we have some measure of control over these things. But until we accept that life and death are matters largely out of our hands, we’re playing a fool’s game.

  • http://www.myspace.com/tequila_d_amour gette

    Very good editorial. I think we need to keep in mind what was discovered about Charles Whitman after his murderous rampage at The University of Texas in 1966: he had a brain tumor. That tumor was somehow responsible for his warped thinking (I am not a medical professional, so don’t ask me how). How can anyone plan their lives around the anomoly of that?

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    I’m not sure we need to be entirely fatalistic about it, but it would be nice to see people look on the positive side of tragedies like this. They really aren’t all that common, and they’re almost impossible to predict or control. There are so many better things to worry about that it’s almost criminal for the media to hype them the way that they do so much out of proportion to any real threat.

    Dave

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    There are so many better things to worry about that it’s almost criminal for the media to hype them the way that they do so much out of proportion to any real threat.

    True enough, and fair enough to boot. (Of course I’ve been saying the same thing for over a week about the Don Imus affair…:-D)

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    The Imus thing was hyped even more than this looks like it’s going to be, and more out of proportion because it was truly trivial and ridiculous, whereas this is at least a genuine tragedy.

    The most ridiculous thing I’ve heard so far today is people expressing outrage at Simon Cowel of all people for rolling his eyes when one of the American Idol contestants mentioned the VaTech murders in his little post-singing interview. Truly a silly thing to make into an issue.

    Dave

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    The silly, trivial issues are the only ones that most people genuinely understand, so they make them into the serious, major issues without even thinking about it.

    Imus’s comments are the obvious example, but damn it, the fact that he was fired over them doesn’t deserve the hype and scrutiny it’s gotten either.

  • Clavos

    As I mentioned on another thread, it’s disappointing to me that the small heroisms of various students and faculty members such as Professor Librescu (who gave his life to protect the students in his classroom), haven’t gotten more exposure in the MSM.

    Not only do those individuals deserve the recognition, their stories can serve as inspiration and comfort to the bereaved, and indeed, the entire nation.

    But you have to really dig to learn about most of them.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    When I decided to write on this subject it was a toss-up between taking this slant and focusing on Librescu and the other people who did what they could to save lives. Maybe I need to write a second article. For what it’s worth I did notice that Librescu was the number one googled name on Google News today.

    Dave

  • Les Slater

    A lot of people are distressed about this 1 in 1.6 million odds of it happening to them. I’ll assume Dave’s math is correct.

    I just did a little research on lottery odds. A mid-November, 2005, 12-state Maga Millions prize reached $135 million. The chances of winning were 1 in 175 million. I remember such occasions. There seemed to be more excitement about winning than there is grief over the killings.

    The emotion seems to be proportional to the magnitude with little regard for the probability of it effecting them.

    In Vegas a slot payoff makes a lot of noise so many can hear it. Keeps the business well lubricated and profitable. The media makes more profit the more they can play on emotions. This is where Imus fits in too.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    When you read first hand accounts of students who were nearby, you see no need for blame. Rather, you see them needing us.

  • Lumpy

    So what youLre saying is that u have no chance at all of being shot in a mass shooting and 10 times less of winning the lottery. What the hell is wrong with people that they fear one and believe in the other? Might as well believe in gnomes and pixies.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    Dave,
    I agree with most of your comments and especially the idea that running scared through life isn’t the way to live or achieve much. I think you did a good job of putting unreasonable fears into perspective.

    In this instance, I haven’t found the media to be hyping the tragedy, as much as is sometimes the case. Of course that could be because where I live, so close to these events, we wanted and needed all the information and coverage we could get, local and national.

    I would like to say something about the concern and efforts of George Bush for the families, students, and Tech community. Leaving out the politics, the war and all other negatives for once, I must say that Bush was truly compassionate in his response. On a personal basis, and just as he did in the aftermath of 9-11, Bush showed a humanity, caring and empathy that gave me new respect for the good he is capable of as a leader. Many of us in Virginia (and I have been strongly critical of his policies and leadership) were touched and heartened by his humbleness and sincerity.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    In this instance, I haven’t found the media to be hyping the tragedy, as much as is sometimes the case. Of course that could be because where I live, so close to these events, we wanted and needed all the information and coverage we could get, local and national.

    Between the daytime talkshows and the cable news networks and the primetime news magazines it’s getting pretty much wall-to-wall coverage as much as or more than the Imus business. It deserves more coverage than Imus, but a lot of the coverage is awfully inflammatory and fearmongering and the rest is just relentlessly stupid and superficial.

    Dave

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “it’s almost criminal for the media to hype them the way that they do so much out of proportion to any real threat.”

    Yep. And by doing so, they are merely encouraging other demented people to engage in “copycat” crimes…

    The media will have blood on their hands if there is another “incident” like this in the coming days/weeks…

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “On a personal basis, and just as he did in the aftermath of 9-11, Bush showed a humanity, caring and empathy that gave me new respect for the good he is capable of as a leader. Many of us in Virginia (and I have been strongly critical of his policies and leadership) were touched and heartened by his humbleness and sincerity.”

    Bush is a good man. He drives me nuts with some of his decisions, and some of the people he has chosen to surround himself with, but he is a good and decent and truly compassionate man.

    It’s a shame that it takes a horrible tragedy like this to get us to appreciate that fact. :-/

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    Dave,
    Once again, it depends on your point of view. I probably would agree, given your perspective from a distance. A death in the family, though, is of far more significance to the family than to outsiders, so what you see as stupid and superficial is to others of us closer to the tragedy respectful interest and almost universal tribute.

  • Servant

    Wow. Thanks for writting such a nice article, and I have yet to see any negative comments yet(a first so far).

    Although, as soon as I heard about the shootings I knew someone would blame video games. Ah, the bitter taste of victory.

  • MCH

    “Bush is a good man. He drives me nuts with some of his decisions, and some of the people he has chosen to surround himself with, but he is a good and decent and truly compassionate man.”
    – RJ Elliott

    Tell that to the families of the 3200-plus killed in GW’s cluster-fuck in Iraq.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    MCH, Les Slater said something nice about Bush. Why don’t you attack him too? It’s not a crime to note Bush’s good qualities when he displays them. Your simplistic view of the world depresses me. Go stalk people on another thread.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Tell that to the families of the 3200-plus killed in GW’s cluster-fuck in Iraq.

    Interestingly enough, a significant number of those families support him…

  • troll

    Lee Richards actually

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Right you are, troll. For some reason I get those two names confused more often than not.

    As for Bush’s behavior, it has indeed been exemplary. There’s no question he thinks of himself as a good man and tries to do the right thing. I would guess that’s even the case in Iraq. But it’s clear that all the good intentions in the world aren’t enough to solve some problems.

    Dave

  • troll

    excellent sentiment in the article btw

  • http://zardozz.com/zz/ ZZ Bachman

    Without wading through all the previous comments, (which I will after posting this) I just want to commend you Dave on what, in my opinion, is a fair and balanced point of view regarding the violent world around us and the events of Monday.

    Lulled into a false sense of security for years, 9/11 gave us a wake up call. We have lulled ourselves once again into a false sense of security since then and now this tragedy wakes us up again from our slumber.

    While the media, politicians and America in general discuss all the BLAME and counter measures in an effort to lull ourselves back to that sweet comforting place of false security centrifuges are spinning in Tehran in the hands of madmen who also have visions of glory and making history. A even more sobering thought in comparison… As a nation will we block the doors with our bodies, hide under a desk, or recognize the threat before hand and act on it? Or ignore the symptoms and hope they don’t amount to anything harmful despite all the psychiatric treatment being prescribed at the U.N. ?? An eerie parallel I ask our readers to ponder…

  • MCH

    [Entire comment deleted. MCH, if you don’t stop this repetitive posting, I will seek permission to have you compulsorily rested. I absolutely don’t want to, but if you leave me no choice, please trust that I will do it without hesitation. Thank you. Comments Editor.]

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Interesting take on the situation, ZZ. I hadn’t thought in terms of all the hype having the effect of desensitizing us to real threats, but that’s certainly a real danger worth considering.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Sort of a contemporary version of crying wolf…

  • MBD

    Cho Seung-Hui was a walking time-bomb. There were enough indications of his anti-social behavior to justify involuntary incarceration as an inpatient in a mental hospital.

    The law makes this difficult because most psychiatrists shrink away from going before a judge and testifying to a clear and present danger. This guy left enough clues around for a couple of years so it wouldn’t take Sherlock Holmes to see a likely outcome.

    The law should be changed to facilitate getting people like this the help they need and get them off the street.

    It’s not a Second Amendment issue.

  • Les Slater

    “Les Slater said something nice about Bush.”

    What nice things have I said about Bush. I think he is scum. I don’t think he is a fascist or that you can blame all bad things on him.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Les. I thought we cleared this up earlier. Didn’t you say that you loved Bush and wanted to bear his child?

    No. Actually I mistakenly used your name when I meant Lee Richards. Sorry for the confusion.

    Dave

  • steve

    The underlying problem is that the liberals have created another anti-hero…the leftist media caused this blood to spill. Glamourizing the Columbine shootings years ago instigated Cho’s desire to replicate their crimes and thensome.

  • zingzing

    ah-ha. it was liberalism what done it. steve, that’s idiotic. the media has always glamourized killers. it didn’t start with columbine.

    …otherwise, you could blame columbine for the shootings of john lennon and ronald reagan. see where this is going?

    mass murder (well, this one) isn’t a political plot, or the fault of those who report on it afterwards. you just came up with an easy answer (probably regurgitated from the media, eh?)

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    #31:
    Anyone who uses this tragedy to promote ANY political agenda–left, right or sideways– has no sense of decency and is beneath contempt!

  • Les Slater

    “Anyone who uses this tragedy to promote ANY political agenda–left, right or sideways– has no sense of decency and is beneath contempt!”

    Are you saying that this has nothing at all to do with how our society is organized? What values we hold?

    Politicians of all stripes are telling us that we need to be protected. We need to outlaw guns. We need to do more psychological profiling and we need to act on these profiles. We need more cops, more jails, more psychological hospitals (prisons). We need stricter schools. We need to segregate those that are different. Maybe we should profile all people, testing and DNA. We can lock them up before kindergarden. Medical insurance companies are doing similar now to deny insurance.

    Do we really want to live in such a society? That is a political question.

  • bliffle

    Jeezus freekin’ christo, Dave, don’t go all soft on me! What are you doing, taking night courses at the ever-lovin’ liberal nightschool of loony sociological excuses?

    Just let that weenie freaker Cho try to cross the Dead Zone between my defense perimeter and the Safe House and I’ll drill him with a .45-70 slug from this 42inch barrel Edwards buffalo gun. Hasn’t lost any punch in the last 150 years and still good enough to deprive an indian of a buffalo meal. Big enough hole for the newsboy to toss a rolled up newspaper through.

    Get back on track, Dave, I’ve refereed a whole bunch of Righteous Citizns to you for firepower suggestions.

    And for chrissakes cover that bald pate with something respectable and cut down the McDs to lose those jowls. You’re starting to look like Algore!

  • MCH

    “MCH, Les Slater said something nice about Bush. Why don’t you attack him too? It’s not a crime to note Bush’s good qualities when he displays them.”
    – Dave Nalle

    Nor is it an “attack” to note the sentiments of families of those killed in Iraq.

  • troll

    bliffle – that is an excellent rifle – !

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Nor is it an “attack” to note the sentiments of families of those killed in Iraq.

    It certainly isn’t, and significant numbers of the families (likely the majority) support the President.

  • http://zardozz.com/zz/ ZZ Bachman

    To what extent is today’s instant mass media playing a unwitting reinforcing role in making this behavior attractive to the next wanna be mass murderer? I resent the MSM providing such stats and commentary which sounds like there is now a new Guiness Book of World Records out there for the next lunatic to go after. It sickens me. Just today there is was some more news of someone who made claims to do just that. “Break this new record”.

    The media needs to chill out now and let the impacted families have their quite space! Editorial boards better start showing some control and civic responsibility. If not, they will be threatening the very fabric of free speechj by virtue of a backlash against their poor judgement. At least that’s my opinion.

  • MCH

    “It certainly isn’t, and significant numbers of the families (likely the majority) support the President.”

    I disagree, Clavos. I believe the majority of Iraqi KIA families are in opposition to the war.

  • STM

    MCH: “Tell that to the families of the 3200-plus killed in GW’s cluster-fuck in Iraq.”

    Emmy, seriously, what the hell has this got to with the War in Iraq? I know you don’t like Bush, but really, how on Earth are you tieing the two things?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    emmy only has one topic, Stan.

  • STM

    A bit like our mate “Jack”*. Opposite ends of the spectrum though, but still no place for anyone who might sit closer to the centre.

    I suppose that makes me wishy-washy.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    C’mon in, the water’s fine…

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Have you folks seen the latest media frenzy about the Cho video ‘manifesto’ and how evil NBC is for releasing it. I’ve never heard so many talking heads spew so much hypocritical shit since Terry Schiavo. Sickening.

    Dave

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Rush Limbaugh yesterday gleefully announced that “this kid who perpetrated this act was obviously a liberal, because he railed against the wealthy….”

    Speaking of sickening….

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Actually, I shouldn’t even say sickening. Stupid.

    I don’t want to simply sound like a partisan in condemning Rush here, because so many would just take his comments and say “typical right-wing garbage” or something similar. But I can’t conceive that anyone, right or left, with any brains or decency could possibly think like that. Rush’s comment wasn’t political spin – it was just idiocy. Nothing more or less. And I can’t bring myself to judge any group by a person who would make such a statement.

  • troll

    Michael – in his position of media exposure it was both idiocy and political spin – these are far from exclusive categories

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Troll – what I meant was, I didn’t want to elevate it to the status of political spin. It’s beneath the (comparatively) high standard of political spin.

  • troll

    yup – and I’m saying that (as he knows) the talking HEAD’s statements no matter how idiotic influence the political thinking of the ditto people

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    The “ditto people” is a loaded phrase, though, Troll – Rush doesn’t influence anyone who wasn’t predisposed to thinking that way in the first place.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Rush’s comment wasn’t political spin – it was just idiocy.

    More likely it was a sarcastic jab aimed at the left. In effect saying, because this guy holds beliefs shared by some on the left, that shows how foolish/psycho those leftists are.

    Dave

  • troll

    lots of political spin is directed at ‘the choir’…as for ‘ditto people’ as a loaded term- their prideful self reference is ‘dittohead’

  • MCH

    STM;
    I was responding to Bobby’s praises of GW, re comment #15. A genuinely “good and decent and truly compassionate man” doesn’t send 3200(plus) soldiers to their deaths in an illegal invasion/occupation under false pretenses.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Rush doesn’t influence anyone who wasn’t predisposed to thinking that way in the first place.

    Quoted for Truth.

    And the same goes for Al Franken and ALL the talking heads, right or left.

    They’re all preaching to their respective choirs.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    More likely it was a sarcastic jab aimed at the left. In effect saying, because this guy holds beliefs shared by some on the left, that shows how foolish/psycho those leftists are.

    Given the context of the monologue, I doubt it – but if you are right, it doesn’t make the comment less stupid.

  • zingzing

    he was also a firm believer in the right to bare arms, eh? so does that make him a conservative?

    no! it makes him middle of the road! straddling the fence, able to see both sides! what we have here is the next american president.

  • MCH

    Re Rush Lardbaugh;

    Ninety percent of what Lardbaugh says is purely to make money. He preaches family values, and yet he’s been married and divorced three times. He preaches national security, and yet he dodged the draft during Vietnam with a medical deferment for a pimple on his ass. He preaches self- righteousness and against drug use, and yet he was hooked on oxycontin, which he purchased on the black market.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Ninety percent of what Lardbaugh says is purely to make money

    Really?? Are you sure??? That’s awful!! Throw him off the air!!

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Ninety percent of what Lardbaugh says is purely to make money.

    Um…

    ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of what everybody in the media business says is to make money. Show me one person on television, radio, or print that isn’t first and foremost out to sell themselves, I’ll show you one person who is lying about being out to sell themselves.

  • http://www.traviseastside.com Dave Nalle

    Quite correct in #58. Ones own personal failings don’t disqualify one from commenting on the failings of others. To the contrary, his personal experiences should really make him an expert in these fields. Better the experienced critic than the self-righteous and inexperienced fool.

    Dave

  • STM

    MJ says: “ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of what everybody in the media business says is to make money. Show me one person on television, radio, or print that isn’t first and foremost out to sell themselves”.

    Geez, that’s a bit harsh, ain’t it. What about those of us who do it because we believe the importance of the right to know far outweighs the loose conspiracy to keep you from knowing??

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    What’s wrong with doing anything just for the money?

    Since when did working for money become something bad?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    BTW, in #63 I’m referring to LEGAL activities.

  • SonnyD

    I have been waiting for someone to express what I’ve been thinking about this event, but no one has. Some have come close when they wonder why this man wasn’t given the mental health care he should have been getting. But the problem is, the mental health community is barely out of the stone ages. Physical health, on the other hand, has made great strides. Heart by-pass surgery and organ replacement are saving thousands of lives every year. Many areas of physical medicine have made enormous advances.

    What advances have been made in mental health? A few new drugs on the market? Then funding for mental health facilities are cut off and patients are thrown out to live on the streets when they can’t take care of themselves. You can call those places prisons if you want, but at least sick people were warm and dry, fed and clothed, and prevented from harming themselves or others.

    I wish people would stop using this as an excuse to promote their favorite political agenda such as gun control and put as much effort into demanding more and better research into mental health problems.

  • STM

    My suggestion to anyone getting into the media in the hope of earning a big quid: don’t bother, because very few do. For every front man/woman on a $500,000 package, there are are two hundred people earning a lot less than that.

    You’ll be comfortable, mostly, but not rich.

    My advice: find a proper job …

  • Zedd

    Dave and Clavos

    It’s like watching a Laurel and Hardy act with you two sometimes.

    The fact that you are discussing the deaths of the heroic individuals means that the media has discussed it. The fact that you know enough to feel as if the individuals are inspirational says you KNOW and HEARD the story from THE MEDIA.

    Dave this story has been on daily, endlessly. To say that the Imus idiocy has more relevance to the MSM is shameful. Imus’ story was perpetuated by none mainstream venues like BC. It was perpetuated by White males who felt like VICTIMS (snicker) all over our great land.

  • STM

    “It’s like watching a Laurel and Hardy act with you two sometimes”.

    Another fine mess you’ve got me in to, Stanley!

    Which one’s which, though Zedd. Who’s the straight man?

  • Zedd

    Michael

    Rush is on drugs. His comments are not political. He is high! His provocative, unencumbered, nerviness is induced by illegal substance abuse. His senses are dulled by drugs and he feels free to say whatever he likes because he feels unencumbered. Free as a bird like those hippie liberals that he so envied when he was a chubby square in his youth.

  • Zedd

    STM

    I don’t want to insult further. You know who is who.

  • Zedd

    Clavos

    sed “What’s wrong with doing anything just for the money?”

    The problem is the “ANYTHING” part I think. Switch it with “something” than it is much more ethical.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Geez, that’s a bit harsh, ain’t it. What about those of us who do it because we believe the importance of the right to know far outweighs the loose conspiracy to keep you from knowing??

    How many of you/them are doing it for free?

  • STM

    OK, granted … I DO get paid, and I get paid a reasonable whack, and I’ve been getting paid for it for the past 35 years. But then most people expect to be paid for doing a job. However, there’s a big difference between that (and loving what you do) and having as your primary motivation the desire to sell yourself above the desire to inform.

    It’s not my motivation, that’s for sure.

    Still, you are partly right: I do think a lot of talking heads don’t have much idea of what’s going on … even in their own brains.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Dave this story has been on daily, endlessly. To say that the Imus idiocy has more relevance to the MSM is shameful. Imus’ story was perpetuated by none mainstream venues like BC. It was perpetuated by White males who felt like VICTIMS (snicker) all over our great land.

    What the hell are you talking about, Zedd? I never said anything like this.

    What I said is that this story was more deserving of heavy coverage than the Imus story was because it was a real tragedy, not a media-contrived one.

    I don’t feel at all victimized by the Imus situation, except that it kept other more interesting stories out of the news. I never liked Imus in the first place. Him going off the air harms me in no conceivable way.

    Dave

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    STM:

    It’s not my motivation, that’s for sure.

    So if you stopped getting paid, would you keep doing it?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Zedd #71:

    No, I meant anything, with the caveat of “legal” that I added in #64.

    I stand by it. There’s nothing wrong with working just for the money. If I were independently wealthy, I wouldn’t work at all.

    I’d be active, but there would be no imperative or clocks involved, thus not “work”.

  • Zedd

    Clavos

    Let me clarify. Would you prostitute yourself? That is doing ANYTHING for money.

    I will do only some things for money not ANYTHING for money.

    I would not break my ethics for money. I wouldn’t work as a hit man (or woman :o) for money, for instance.

    That would be sad.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Zedd,

    Neither being a hit man nor prostitution are legal (well, prostitution is, in Nevada)…

    And, there ‘s a huge difference between the meaning of:

    “doing anything just for the money”

    and

    “doing anything for money”

    Think about it…

  • MCH

    Ninety percent of what Lardbaugh says is purely to make money.

    “Really?? Are you sure??? That’s awful!! Throw him off the air!!”
    – Clavos

    Good, I’m glad you agree Lardbaugh is sincere about only 10 percent of everything he says, Clavvy.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    That’s not what I said, emmy.

    Don’t put words in my mouth.

    I merely pointed out the obvious: neither he nor any other talking head is on the air for free; they ALL get paid, BIG bucks. Even the “preachers” and “holy” men.

    I wouldn’t presume to judge whether Limbaugh (or Franken, or Billy Graham, for that matter) is “sincere”.

    I don’t think their “sincerity” is relevant; they are entertainers.

    It’s showbiz.

  • MCH

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

  • http://www.richandmark.com Mark Andrich

    The UK handgun laws came in as a result of the Dunblane massacre. There have been no such killing sprees in the UK since. And while there have ben some spurts in gun crime caused by foreign mafias, gun crime is now falling, along with murders and violent crime – 50 such gun deaths last year in a population of 60 million.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Mark, what are you on about? The Dunblane massacre was in 1996. The UK has had strong gun restrictions since the pistol ban in 1903. The Dumblane massacre is generally cited as an example of why gun control doe not work.

    They did increase the restrictions in 1997 in response to the Dunblane massacre, but those restrictions are relatively meaningless given the tiny number of people who legally owned firearms before they were enacted. All they did was make it so that the UK shooting team can’t even train in the country.

    Dave

  • http://www.x-thc.com X: THC

    Question Marks…

    “This didn’t have to happen”, Cho Seung-Hui said, after brutally murdering thirty-two people at Virginia Tech University. And this terrible tragedy of sons, daughters, mothers and fathers didn’t have to happen, if we’d only listened. But we never listen.

    We never listen to those that are different from us- the outcasts, the lonely, the homeless, the ones that are unspoken for. We don’t try to understand. We shun them and put them out of our minds because of our fear that we will become like them. And these people become more and more lonely and alienated in their isolation.

    Words like “creep”, “deranged misfit” and “psycho” devalue this killer’s humanity so we don’t have to face how similar he is to us. Cries of “how could he have been stopped” are uttered by media quick to sensationalize and gain market share, when the words “how could he have been listened to” are never considered. Because we don’t want to listen.

    We don’t want to hear about loneliness and alienation when we’re all so busy with our lives, making money and making friends. And the unpopular, the ones that don’t fit in, the lonely ones are ignored or made fun of because we don’t care to understand anything about them.

    As a boy, Cho Seung-Hui “was picked on, pushed around and laughed at over his shyness” (Associated Press). When he started college, according to the Guardian, “his mother took his dormitory mates to one side to explain about her son’s unusual character and implored them to help.” And he clearly needed help, devaluing himself so much that he called himself “Question Mark”.

    There are more “Question Marks” out there. There are millions of them. And if we don’t listen to them, they will follow the same path again and again, because people are not connecting. We are becoming more and more disconnected from each other, creating more and more “Question Marks” every day.

    Most “Question Marks” don’t become murderers. Some just kill themselves. Most harm no one and live just as we do, needing antidepressants to appear what we call “normal”. They may be someone you know, someone you love.

    This “Question Mark” was once a little boy, who cried, and smiled and loved, He wanted to fit in just like you and I. But that desire to fit in transformed itself into anger towards a society that shunned and ignored him.

    How many more times will we shun and ignore the one that doesn’t fit in, the one in the corner, the one that’s different? When all we have to do is listen, before it’s too late. But we won’t.

    Thirty-two human beings who did not know Cho Seung-Hui were murdered.
    They were sons, daughters, fathers and mothers, with dreams of futures that will never come and children that will never be born. The thirty-two leave behind people that love them. People that are now scarred for life by this horrible day of death.

    To most of us that have not been directly involved, this tragedy will become a memory and fade like all the others that came before.

    And the “Question Marks” will appear with more frequency, again and again, because we don’t listen.

    We never do.

  • STM

    MJ asked: “So if you stopped getting paid, would you keep doing it?”

    I don’t get paid for writing on this site, but I still do it. I don’t need the exposure, either.

    I stopped worrying about that 20 years ago. So the answer is: a resounding Yes.

  • http://notshynow.wordpress.com marcia siegel

    i do not believe we should live in fear. however, perhaps we would feel more comfortable if we knew that those who should be protecting had a plan to deal with a serious emergency as this if it were to happen again. we would feel more comfortable if those in charge recognized that this could happen and they had some sort of preparation. also we could feel more comfortable if people that are having problems had some agency they could turn to. likewise people that recognized people having problems on a campus could have a place to report this to where perhaps there could be an intervention of some sort.

  • Lumpy

    THC. Plenty of your persecuted misfit ‘question mark’ people find ways to live normal lives. Cho was clearly much more than just an innocent victim of bullying.