(With today’s tenth anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre of 1999 and the recent anniversary of the Virginia Tech killings of April 16, 2007, I reprint this editorial from my website about the incident in Virginia.)
The events of April 16, 2007 in Blacksburg, Virginia will reverberate in our public consciousness for years to come. The “worst mass murder in US history” has a ring to it like “9/11” or “a day that will live in infamy”. And the political reaction to 4/16/07 will play itself out on a stage that has been set for decades.
Within hours of the shooting, the second-guessing and political sniping began, some of it justifiable and within the bounds of reason, some of it beyond the pale. But in the highly-charged and closely divided political climate that exists in America today, every nuance and advantage counts. Minds can be swayed at any point in any crisis by any person.
Regarding Virginia Tech, the most obvious question is: Why did it take university officials two full hours to alert the campus community about the first two murders that had occurred? Was this not a serious circumstance?
The answer is that yes it was serious and indeed, under pressure, the system failed. And heads will roll. And lawsuits will ensue. And ironically – or perhaps expectedly – while the warning about the first murders was delayed, the declaration of a convocation for the very next day after the killings to “heal” the grieving community was announced almost instantaneously in order to mollify all the wrong people.
Is something wrong here? Was something being covered up or “over-compensated” for? Could not the convocation have been delayed a few days while the dust settled? Certainly, it could have been. But in a world where feelings trump rationality, like on the average college campus today, emotion prevailed.
Immediately after the shootings, the media went on the attack with the usual agenda. Within hours, the issue of the “gun control debate” was raised with the suggestion that this time it will be settled forever in favor of a complete ban, never mind that guns are the most regulated commodity in America today, with more than 20,000 federal, state and local laws.
One smarmy New York journalist, smelling blood and allowing his media hysteria to run wild in the heat of the moment, even wrote a how-do-you-like-it-now-Virginia commentary, blaming easy gun access in Old Dominion laws for all the guns and crime in Utopian New York City. Typically, a liberal never is quite able to accept blame for failures in his own community, and must point fingers.
Then Rep. Jim Moran, a kooky, hair-trigger liberal Virginia Democrat who once was charged with roughing up a little boy, immediately blamed Bush, the Republican party and probably God Himself for the Virginia massacre. And so 2nd Amendment supporters, knowing what was coming down the pike, immediately ramped up their PR machine in order to counter the expected liberal firestorm.
Europe, of course, went nuts. On a continent on which 75 million souls perished in two world wars in the 20th century alone, they took a break from their espressos and unemployment lines long enough to again disparage America as a nutty, gun-toting place while conveniently forgetting the role that nutty, gun-toting America played in saving Europe twice. Or does saving their bacon in the Cold War count too? Yes, three times.
But a look at the Virginia Tech gunman himself, his alleged motives, and his gun purchase offers us some insight into where our culture is coming from. And the picture is not at all what the media and the intellectual classes wish for us to see.
Virginia Tech certainly is not Harvard or Berkeley. It is located in a conservative part of the nation; has what appears to be a decent, level-headed, and somewhat religious student constituency; and even sponsors a military cadet corps and strong ROTC program, both of which are routinely run off liberal campuses controlled by the enlightened elite on the coasts.
But this is not to say that Tech has not come under socialist influence. School poet Nikki Giovanni started railing about disease in Africa and something about loose boulders crushing houses in Appalachia (apparently a gratuitous swipe at the mining industry) during a memorial tribute to 32 dead students. More tellingly, however, is that Tech officially had been declared a “gun free” zone, which the murderer conveniently managed to ignore, as they always do. Why can’t these criminals behave?!
The next sign of trouble was the profile of the murderer, and the college’s reaction to it. Obviously a distressed loner, Cho Seung-Hui was said to have passed mostly wordlessly through life at Tech, showed signs of extreme mental disorder, and even wrote grossly violent plays for a creative writing class. But on many of today’s college campuses we can expect psychosis and violence to be considered normal, rather than suspect. After all most colleges preach abortion (anger at children); disdain for God and His order; and extremist environmentalism (anger at humans and their activities) while nurturing a self-indulgent ethic that is “non-judgmental”. Hey man, whatever. If he wants to write about killing his step-father, that’s cool with us! says academia.
The radical 1960s agenda that has taken over many colleges in America, including greedy tuition demands from the “selfless” and “non-materialistic” Woodstock Generation of professors and administrators, has normalized chaos and marginalized rational thinking. So killer Hui’s “1st Amendment rights” to be a nut and to pen violent plays were scrupulously observed, while the 2nd Amendment – the right to bear arms – was cavalierly run out of town. See how selective the academic elite has become?
This is the same laissez-faire mindset toward violence and criminality that allowed investigations of the two Columbine killers to lapse for more than a year even after one had made death threats on a computer website, and both were openly suspected of planning something sinister. After all, today’s politically-correct police departments don’t want to invade anyone’s karma.
Hui’s former English professor, Lucinda Roy, speaking in a British accent, condescendingly dismissed the rabble of “this country” (America) as troubled, dispirited people. Yet despite Hui’s extremely erratic behavior and violent writing, Roy ultimately did nothing. After all, who has time for a troubled college kid when you can be bashing America, demeaning the coal companies, or jetting off on sabbatical?
In 2005, a Virginia court even declared Hui an imminent threat to others. But Special Justice Paul Barrett decided that Hui was not crazy enough to be committed to a mental-health facility, which would have red-flagged any gun purchase. This is part of the “therapy culture” pushed by liberals in America, in which derangement is normalized, and nobody wants to “offend” anyone by describing truthfully their condition. The same liberals shut down hundreds of state mental institutions in the late 1970s, putting hundreds of thousands of mentally ill people on the streets…. uh, homeless people, that is.
Meanwhile the eggheads at Tech – like many college professors and administrators everywhere who purport to tell us what the global temperature is going to be in 100 years; who wish to dictate where and when to drill for oil; who seem to know exactly how much in taxes we all should pay – the same academics who had had years-long relationships with Hui didn’t do a thing. Is there something wrong with this picture?
Meanwhile the gun dealer who sold Hui one pistol said that in their brief encounter Hui was perfectly normal and passed all the background checks. So who knew Hui better? Who should have been aware of his behavior? The gun dealer even said that he routinely denies sales to people he deems suspicious.
The killer left notes and videotapes behind condemning “rich kids”, “debauchery” and even Christianity itself. Well, well, Hui had learned his lessons well, had he not? Is this not the anti-Americanism, anti-Christianity and class-warfare tactic advocated by many leftists in academia and in the media today, and even seen in terrorists’ jihad videos? Obviously America made him do it, they always say. Thus the liberal socialists who virtually control both the media and academia are complicit in these murders and in much of the violence in America today just as radical environmentalist Woody Harrelson, who starred in the film Natural Born Killers – which directly influenced the Columbine killers – is complicit in that act of evil.
Who, me? Yeah, you…
If Cho Seung-Hui were employed at Home Depot or a coal mine or another manly bastion of American capitalism, some real men would have taken him aside and checked him out good. But radical feminism has all but banished real men and their real judgments from college campuses today, while the academic elite is more worried about the concocted crisis of ‘global warming’ or starvation halfway across the globe than about lurking crises in its own front parlor. This is the great conceit of academia today; they are blind to themselves while ruthlessly criticizing others.
One psychobabbler prattled on about how males like Cho Seung-Hui in today’s society are feeling alienated by lost job opportunities and lack of self-esteem. And where, oh where does this anti-man attitude come from? Yes, from the feminist media, and academia, and “poets” (and that word is used advisedly) more worried about tumbling boulders than about murder in their own field of view. What is today’s emasculated male but a punching bag for all the reactionary theology of modern-day socialism/feminism.
If the first two murders on the Tech campus instead had been a tripped ‘global warming’ alarm that announced a one millidegree rise in the planet’s temperature, the campus would have been cleared immediately. But Tech is two things: a college campus and a government institution, run by the state of Virginia. Therefore rational thinking and accountable decision-making increasingly are pushed to the margins, while professors and administrators have produced an onerous, bureaucratic state where no action can be taken without committee approval.
This is the great danger posed by the intellectual community today. This is not to say that there are not millions of good kids studying hard at colleges and universities across America today, and some proficient, honest professors. Many of them were courageously on display at Virginia Tech in the wake of the shootings. But young people are shaped by what they see and hear, and this evil act will echo around college campuses for years to come. And they will see only the result that is hammered into them by the academic elite and the media: Some guy bought a gun in Virginia and killed people, so let’s get the guns out of the public’s hands.
What young people are not learning about is how abominably they are being taught. We need to re-define the approach that academia had imposed on our youth, perhaps teach them that the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution gives us access to firearms in order to keep at bay the repression of the State. All tyrannies disarm their publics as their first official acts. This is why gun-controlled Britain is said to have a lower crime rate than America (much of it for external reasons that have nothing to do with guns), but in point of fact is at infinitely higher risk of tyranny than America is. World War III anyone?
How’s that for a “high concept” to be taught in college?
And by the way, gun ownership in America prevents 500,000 crimes per year. You’ll never hear that statistic in the mainstream media.
The 2nd Amendment comes out of a rational thing called Natural Law, which declares, among other things, that humans have the right to personal safety. While this may sound perfectly logical, it is not normal for the political left. If you kill an intruder in your home in America today, you are subject to prosecution by leftist activists for denying the civil rights of the aggrieved criminal. In other words, personal safety is not on their agenda, and never has been, because leftist state power negates personal power. If a student had violated Virginia Tech’s gun ban and had shot and killed Hui before Hui killed anyone else, that student would be targeted by left-wing activist groups for murder and for breaching gun laws.
But in fact the state (the police) failed the students at Tech, not only physically by failing to stop the 32 murders, but procedurally by failing even to alert students in a timely manner about the first two murders. State power indeed. How about some 1960s “power to the people” in the form of armed self-defense?
From the bogus Duke University rape case, to a former Taliban member attending Yale, American academia is out of control. 88 Duke professors essentially found the three innocent defendants there guilty in absentia by calling them guilty in a newspaper ad, and then refused to apologize when they were proven wrong. This is the type of arrogance that permeates academia today. The evil murder of 32 students at Virginia Tech will reverberate for many years to come. But only those who look beyond the hype will see that it is reason and rationality that will prevent such incidents in the future.
Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can print out for free my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.