The tragic killings at Virginia Tech soon resulted in the world’s journalists and scribblers passing judgement on the USA. Few could resist blaming a ‘gun culture’, (whatever that is!) or US society or George Bush. It is noticeable that catastrophes in other countries elicit understanding, but the USA is always deemed to be the architect of its own problems. Americans, keen to give aid to to every part of the world after any human suffering, never receive much sympathy.
Mental illness can be found in every country and race and so can evil in individuals. The two are not the same thing and at this point in time it is not clear whether the Tech killer was sick or evil. If he was psychotic, then he was not responsible for his actions. If he wasn’t psychotic then he was responsible and can properly be described as evil.
Two types of mental illness can be difficult to diagnose unless someone with mental illness knowledge is prepared to spend time with the sufferer. Manic depression can be hard to detect in the early manic stage, since the behavior is similar to the behavior of very emotionally and physically active people. The bouts of depression often lag a long time behind the manic phase. The paranoia of shizophrenia sufferers is also frequently hard to detect, since paranoid people can become adept at concealing their paranoid thoughts, at least for a time. In my experience, it sometimes took an hour of careful conversation with a sufferer before paranoid ideas emerged at all and then they would gradually dominate the conversation if not challenged. People with dangerous paranoid thoughts are usually first referred to a doctor by a close relative or neighbor who has become alarmed.
Diagnosis, incarceration and treatment have all become problematic in modern times because of the intrusion of civil rights activists into the field and the writings of sociologists who have suggested that there is really no such thing as mental illness, only sick cultures. No doubt, in the distant past, some people were improperly locked up in asylums and to make matters worse, many asylums were staffed by psychopaths and sadists. When I walk the streets of San Francisco however, I am reminded that the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of ‘civil rights’ for those who are too sick to exercise them and consequently dangerous mentally ill people are roaming free amongst us all.
If Cho, the tech killer, was mentally ill, he had clearly gone past the stage of concealing his deadly paranoid thoughts. At one time, in the past, he would have been detained in a hospital and kept there, for his own good and every ones else’s. If his constantly expressed hatreds and resentments were not a result of schizophrenia, they should at least have resulted in his exclusion from college early on. Non-judgementalism seems to have run amok.
The Left has been quick to put the blame for this tragedy on guns. Leftists, deep down, think guns (along with everything else) should be the sole preserve of government and its employees. I am in favor of the law-abiding and sane citizen having the right to own a gun and I have one in my home. I cherish the right to be able to use it in self defence if someone invades my home. Having lived in the UK for decades, I know that there, burglary and the victimization of elderly people in their own homes by young hoodlums is rampant. I also happen to think that a gun owning society is better able to resist political despotism. There is ample evidence that burglary is greatly reduced when law abiding homeowners are armed, though whether gun ownership stops despotism is not provable.
It seems to me rather silly for gun-rights defenders to deny that the great availability of guns has no part to play in an episode like the Virginia tragedy. The more guns there are floating about, the more likely that a Cho gets his hands on one or more and I can see no sense in civilian individuals (law abiding or not) being able to legally accumulate arsenals of sophisticated military weapons. Finding a balance between letting citizens have the means to defend themselves in their homes, and stopping the Cho’s of this world from tooling up for a massacre, is unlikely to happen because the Leftists’s real agenda is to deprive decent people of the power of self-protection.
One last point. I don’t think those of us on the Right should ape the ways of the Left. Cho may have been an evil little runt and the families of his victims can be forgiven for hating him, but he was someone’s child, too, and he is dead. His life and death are also a tragedy. We may never know what went wrong but he was probably born with as much good potential as any other child and loved by his parents and family. Let’s not politicize his actions or his life, or the lessons we need to learn. Perhaps we need to find out more about the background of gun applicants before granting a licence. Perhaps we need to insist that campus police carry arms. Perhaps we need to hospitalize more mentally ill people and keep them there. Perhaps we should exclude threatening people from colleges and elsewhere irrespective of race and ethnicity.
We should be able to debate all these issues rationally, but we won’t. The Media will ensure that any debates are subjected to its political agenda. We are back where I started, with the Media blaming the USA and its gun culture.