Monday, April 23, 2007

More on Virginia Tech

I remember one thing about Cho's message. He was 23 years old, but in his video he sounded like a self-pitying adolescent. In A Criminal History of Mankind, Colin Wilson wrote that criminal behavior is essentially childishness: "A criminal is an adult who continues to behave like a child." When I was in middle school and high school, I was relentlessly teased, and I occasionally had thoughts about blowing my classmates' brains out, but I never did. And by the time I hit college, even though I still sometimes felt like I didn't fit in, I had grown out of my homicidal fantasies. The point is, when was Cho planning on growing up? I guess never.
While news wags can go on and on about gun control, supposed "warning signs" and the problems of bullying, this was not a common incident. Kids are bullied all over the country, and it is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with as appropriate, and very few of them end up acting out on a level even close to Cho's massacre. Criminal behavior is a lot like the English language; for every rule, there are several exceptions, and the structure is all but incomprehensible to an outsider without a lot of study and effort.
Onto those who are complaining about oversaturation in the media, and that Cho got exactly what he wanted by being made national news. The press' fascination and fixation with the lowest of society and human behavior has existed as long as the press. Some historians believe that the reason Jack the Ripper has become as notorious as he did is because his crimes coincided with the rise of mass literacy, giving people of all classes the chance to read the gory story. Humans will always have a twisted fascination with the monsters among us: the dual lure and fear of the unknown. Back when public hangings were standard practice, the noose was often cut into pieces after the criminal was dead and sold off to the eager crowd. This is a reality of human behavior, and it's not going to go away. Even if NBC News had chosen not to air Cho's video, with the Internet and resourceful curious people, it probably would have made it out to the public anyway. Technology may change, but the race, in this respect, won't.
On a completely different topic, Boris Yeltsin, former Russian president, supporter of American-style capitalism and world-famous drunk, has died. Finally, a Russian political death that Putin and his league of evil can't take credit for.

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