Friday, April 20, 2007

Long Week

This week started with the Virginia Tech shootings which continue to be dissected on television as I am writing. It brought back memories of my freshman year at Iowa when Gang Lu decided to kill five people, including himself, and put another student in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. I was heading to class that afternoon when I heard on local TV that someone had been shot and the killer was still on the loose. I obviously decided to stay put (the best reason I had for missing class in my four years there), especially since my class was held in the building where the shooting took place. It's kind of a weird feeling the first time something like that happens to start thinking if I had been there 20 minutes earlier or the shooter had been there 20 minutes later...who knows what might have happened?

Of course, many of the VA Tech students weren't afforded the luxury of having that thought. Instead, their lives were either cut short by the acts of a madman or they have been left with memories that will never be erased. Our prayers during Bible Study the following night went out to the families of the victims and the shooter and those who were wounded and witnesses to the whole scene. You wish there was more you could do. But then again that kind of thinking isn't really proper since prayer may just be the MOST important thing you can do.

I find myself drawn to the coverage even though it is greatly distracting from the work and activities that need my attention. It's a human drama that is hard to escape since I myself am part of humanity. Much debate has occurred this week over the media's handling of the situation, particularly the airing of the photos and videos that NBC received from the shooter. I don't think there is any need to reward Cho for his actions and I would have preferred it if America didn't have to see the images of him holding his firearms. We can understand that an evil act took place without seeing the individual responsible for it.

And was evil. Evil does exist much to the dismay of those who believe that the concepts of good and evil are mere fabrications of the religiously dependent. I heard Billy Graham's son being interviewed on campus and he basically stated that Cho was demonically possessed at the time. I am not so sure I agree with that. Anything that is done outside of the will of God is inherently evil, which means all of us would be possessed every day. That isn't the case. Our own sinful nature will take care of most of that. This isn't to say that it is impossible that Cho was possessed by a demon but that's quite a leap to make.

So what do we make of all this? Do we take away everyone's guns now so things like this can't happen? No. That would only leave guns in the hands of criminals who will find ways to attain them regardless of the laws on the books. They are criminals people...they aren't big on obeying things. Certainly there needs to be more communication between the courts, authorities and colleges. Cho's roommates had no idea that a court had deemed him to be a danger to himself. Imagine that. Inexcusable.

I'm not really sure if there is some great lesson here. It does just seem utterly senseless. It also seems like these types of incidents are accelerating in this country. It's not a gun issue...guns have always been available. But it does seem like violence is on the rise, particularly in the youth of America. I suppose that if we feed our kids enough violence through music, movies, video games and the Internet that some level of desensitization will occur. I just don't think that a lot of kids today view themselves as part of humanity. Their thoughts and actions take place in a bubble. It's not that they feel they have a right to harm others. It's more as if they don't realize they have a responsibility NOT to harm others.

There will always be crazy people who do horriffic things. Nothing can stop that. But this should also cause us to question again which direction America is heading and if there is something we can do to stop the slide down the slippery slope of self destruction.

Perhaps the separation of church and state (which is NOT in the Constitution) wasn't the best idea. Maybe...just maybe...we need a little more God in our lives.