Yet again a disturbed young man, backed by the seemingly sacred constitutional right to carry a lethal weapon or two, has laid waste to other young men and women, and himself, in an American educational institution.
Surely it's time for this ridiculous second amendment to be laid to rest, or amended. People in the US are no longer fighting frontier battles, or the British, or anyone else on their soil - except their young people, one against another. Perhaps if more money was put into social welfare, education, health services and other life-enhancing programmes there would be fewer feelings of frustration, anger, hatred and helplessness amongst people that can trigger such drastic action. Is there no one on the American political scene with the balls to say "no" to the NRA?
Much is being made of the "failure" of the Virginia Tech police to shut down the campus after the first shootings in the dormitory. From the reports that have been coming out, it would seem that the
police and university authourities acted quite rationally based on the
information they had at the time. Retrospect is a wonderful thing, but it's never there when you need it! There has even been talk of suing the university. Do people really think that a cheque for a few thousand dollars will make up for the loss of their son or daughter? Are they putting a price on their child's head?
Where I think the university did fail was in not following up on the concerns expressed by Cho Seung Hui's teachers. His English professor, in particular, recognised that he had serious problems and did her best to get him help - but it appears that her efforts fell on deaf ears. I hope this is something that will be looked at good and hard in the investigations and enquiries that will no doubt be established in the weeks to come.
We've heard very little about Cho Seung Hui's parents. They too have suffered the loss of a son, but I doubt if their presence would be welcomed at any of the memorial services or vigils that are taking place. As sure as eggs are eggs, there will be someone with hate in his heart and a constitutional gun in his hand ready to take revenge and visit the sins of the son upon the parent. I hope, for their sakes, that they are under protection, and that they are being offered counselling for bearing what must surely be the greatest pain of anyone involved in this sorry saga.