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Author Topic: Another tragic shooting
boo
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Icon 1 posted April 18, 2007 07:16      Profile for boo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by nerdwithnofriends:
quote:
Originally posted by boo:

Though I am always wary of early reports because they are so often fraught with inaccuracies, there was a statement made about the note he left which suggested he blamed others for making him do this. Perhaps like other similar shooters before him, he felt like an outcast, alienated, judged, abused. Apparently he had no advocates, and perhaps was incapable of advocating for himself.

From what I've read- and like you said, this is all early reporting, so I'm sure some of it is flawed- he didn't /want/ 'advocates'. They say he would often ignore people when/if they greeted him, he never talked in class, he sat and the back, and he always signed his papers with '?'. He actually became known by the staff as 'the question mark kid'.

I'm dying to read the note he left behind. I'm caught between the two extremes of 'Damn, something must have been fucked up to push him to do this' and 'boo hoo, I have no fucking friends even though I don't make an effort and push everybody away. Woe is me!' I believe there must have been an influence, but I believe it may have been external to the school, and now thirty-odd people have suffered because this psycopath decided to go crazy with some semi-automatic weapons.

I didn't read that he always signed his papers with an question mark, only once. But the comment I put in italics seems overly simplistic to me. You don't know if he wanted advocates or not. He very well may not have made an "effort," based on his past experiences. If he actually was abused, tormented, etc. you could hardly expect him to be in the frame of mind to make an "effort." That's a bit like saying an abused child isn't making enough of an effort to reach out to his parents.

Obviously, he's not the first in our society to have issues that have pushed him over the edge. And he's unlikely to be the last, unless we start dealing with some of the things that trigger this type of behavior.

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Just_Jess_B

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Icon 1 posted April 18, 2007 08:32      Profile for Just_Jess_B   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
In the end, we are all responsible for our choices, even if we don't want to take responsibility for those choices. No one held that murderer's hand and forced his finger to pull the trigger again and again. His isolation was because of what was boiling inside of him, which manifested itself in the symptoms of alienation. His torment was kept inside his head, which is why there was really no clear warning of the devastation to come. He was the only one informed of the persecution. People tried to help him, but he proved the axiom that you can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped. He was disturbed, but he had his freedoms as a legal resident of the United States. The only external blame was that no one in authority put him into 72-hour observation at the county mental facility when he was considered a harm to himself or others.

His damage was on the inside, not because others did it to him. He blamed everything and everyone but himself. He was broken and got his hands on weapons. He calmly went on a suicidal rampage, knowing he would die at the end. And he blamed each person he shot for his choice.

Sorry, but the "Only a Lad"* excuse doesn't work. He did it. Now we have to live with it because he's dead.


*The Oingo Boingo song.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted April 18, 2007 09:16      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What Jess said. Though this suggests he was taken in for an evaluation at some point.

I don't know how it works in VA. In upstate NY, you pretty much have to be either acting out or your family have to demand it before you could be sent involuntarily to the hospital for observation. Disturbing writing isn't enough. Alternatively, you could go voluntarily. ERs take people with psychiatric emergencies.

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Icon 1 posted April 18, 2007 09:45      Profile for LemonSmuggler     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Don't get me wrong, it was very sad. But call me jaded if you want, because all I could think of when I heard the news about the shooting was, "okay, it's happened before." Our world is so cruel, that to see just another level of it doesn't shock me in the least, I could call it a "horrible tragedy" like everyone else and the new are doing, and it was, but people die everyday, yes it was senseless, it was the last truely evil act of a crazy man is what it was.
Not many deaths in this world are without their tears, teenagers young and drunk die almost everday from getting into car recks, babies die from SIDS, and we have men and women in war dying. You can't excape death, but I do believe in a so-called heaven, I don't think this is our only chance to live.

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nerdwithnofriends
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Icon 1 posted April 18, 2007 10:50      Profile for nerdwithnofriends     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by boo:
quote:
Originally posted by nerdwithnofriends:
quote:
Originally posted by boo:

Though I am always wary of early reports because they are so often fraught with inaccuracies, there was a statement made about the note he left which suggested he blamed others for making him do this. Perhaps like other similar shooters before him, he felt like an outcast, alienated, judged, abused. Apparently he had no advocates, and perhaps was incapable of advocating for himself.

From what I've read- and like you said, this is all early reporting, so I'm sure some of it is flawed- he didn't /want/ 'advocates'. They say he would often ignore people when/if they greeted him, he never talked in class, he sat and the back, and he always signed his papers with '?'. He actually became known by the staff as 'the question mark kid'.

I'm dying to read the note he left behind. I'm caught between the two extremes of 'Damn, something must have been fucked up to push him to do this' and 'boo hoo, I have no fucking friends even though I don't make an effort and push everybody away. Woe is me!' I believe there must have been an influence, but I believe it may have been external to the school, and now thirty-odd people have suffered because this psycopath decided to go crazy with some semi-automatic weapons.

I didn't read that he always signed his papers with an question mark, only once. But the comment I put in italics seems overly simplistic to me. You don't know if he wanted advocates or not. He very well may not have made an "effort," based on his past experiences. If he actually was abused, tormented, etc. you could hardly expect him to be in the frame of mind to make an "effort." That's a bit like saying an abused child isn't making enough of an effort to reach out to his parents.

Obviously, he's not the first in our society to have issues that have pushed him over the edge. And he's unlikely to be the last, unless we start dealing with some of the things that trigger this type of behavior.

I said they were two extremes. Even so, you can't justify why he killed the students. You say he may have been abused. By who? His parents? So let me get this straight: He gets abused by his parents so... he kills a bunch of kids at his school. Doesn't make sense. Even if he was mistreated by students before university, that doesn't give him the right to kill people who had nothing to do with his being upset. Revenge by proxy just doesn't work.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted April 18, 2007 14:07      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by nerdwithnofriends:
You say he may have been abused. By who? His parents? So let me get this straight: He gets abused by his parents so... he kills a bunch of kids at his school. Doesn't make sense. Even if he was mistreated by students before university, that doesn't give him the right to kill people who had nothing to do with his being upset.

Unless I've missed something, no one in this thread is arguing that the guy had a right to do what he did, or defending him as "only a lad".

Some have expressed the view that it's unfortunate a mentally disturbed young man didn't get the help he needed before the proverbial hit the fan, but no one is defending his actions.

The mentally ill have been in societies "too hard" basket for a long time, and we're paying a heavy price. Here in oz, around 1/3 of the men, and 1/2 of the women in prison have diagnosed mental illnesses. Most of these people were not receiving any treatment when they committed their crime.

Now I'm not exactly sure what we can do about it, there's no "magic wand" to solve the problem, but it would be nice if we could find some way of identifying these people, and getting help to them before they reach for the gun or the axe. An ounce of prevention...

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted April 18, 2007 14:47      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
nerdwithnofriends wrote:
Even if he was mistreated by students before university, that doesn't give him the right to kill people who had nothing to do with his being upset.

Holy crap... could you misinterpret boo's post a bit more? boo's point was that if the shooter was mistreated by authority figures, parents and his peers in the past, he wouldn't make an effort to get help or make friends.

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Icon 1 posted April 18, 2007 15:10      Profile for WinterSolstice     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't think anything but self-preservation ever gives you the "right" to kill people. I would certainly agree that society can build some pissed off individuals, though.

Unfortunately, it's a slippery slope - once you get to the point that you've decided everyone around you needs to die, not much counselling will help.

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nerdwithnofriends
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Icon 1 posted April 18, 2007 17:05      Profile for nerdwithnofriends     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by boo:
That's a bit like saying an abused child isn't making enough of an effort to reach out to his parents.

This is the statement that caught my eye from boo's post. It's not a valid analogy, because an abused child's parents are his abusers, so of course he knows that it's futile to try and contact him. But he didn't even have to try to make contact with people, this guy. People tried approaching him, and he pushed them away; even his roommates never talked to him, he just ignored them. They were actually surprised to find out that he was an English major, because they figured the reason he didn't respond to their greetings/attempts at conversation was because his english was bad.


I just think it's too simplistic to say 'well someone treated him bad so he did this.' No, because sane people who are mistreated and lash out take action against the aggressor. This kid had more than just parental or social abuse going on to make him kill indiscriminately like he did. He had to have been fully psychotic, and I doubt any amount of counseling would have fully prevented some sort of breakdown, though it may have prevented one of this magnitude from happening.

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"The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower." - Robert M. Pirsig

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted April 18, 2007 17:09      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi All ______________________ So I guess we are back to a nutter, lost it today, yesterday, or the day before.

I truely feel for the people who were close enough to smell the cordite, and then the hemoglobin, they will always question themselves could I have done this, what if I?

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GameMaster
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Icon 1 posted April 18, 2007 17:34      Profile for GameMaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
Just take away the gun, is all. And not just from individuals whom we perceive to be a threat, but from all civilians. If we want a peaceful world, we must act peacefully.

A gun is a tool, nothing more. The ownership and/or simple posession of any substance should not be illegal, period. The use of any substance should not be illegal, barring that it doesn't infringe on anyone else's rights.

I am as much of a lefty, tree-hugging liberal as the next beardy-weirdy, but I do think people need to get over the idea that they are entitled to whatever they decide they should have.

Most beardy-weirdy people agree with you. The founder's of The United States of America, on the other hand, disagree. They held that if America is to be a free nation the citizens must be allowed to be armed, they believed it so strongly that they made it the second of eight spesifically listed rights.

quote:
Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

They didn't need to do this, however, in order to ensure government protection of that right; because they clearly say that the number of rights that man intrinsically has are not limited to those listed in the bill. They set aside two amendments to these ends:

quote:
Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

I believe in everyone's right to personal safety and therefore, by extension, in the right to exercise self-defence. I just don't believe that private individuals have the "right" to bear arms.

The owership or possession of thing, is not the same as using that thing in a single or several murders. A gun can kill, a knife can kill, a car can kill and medical drugs can kill. Should we make them all illegal or controled substances, or should we make people responsible for their actions and uses of these tools?

Keep in mind, acording to the press, this is the most people killed in a single shooting. 32 people dead, and it is a very sad thing... But America is huge. France can fit into texas, and we measure distances in hours it would take at freeway speeds. This is far outside the standard deviation.

Moreover, banning guns at this point would be impossible, there are so many in the country that you'd never get them all out. We are a country of cowboys, a country of rebellion. We won't give them up easily, and it's silly to pass a law that makes law abiding peaceful citizens into criminals for just owning or possessing anything (read: drugs, guns).

Our culture even goes so far as to a call for us to take up arms and over throw the government if it steps out of line.

quote:
That to secure these rights,
Including the right to bear arms.
quote:
Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, having its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Notice above (in the second amendment), that it doesn't specifcally say the U.S. military is needed, but a well trained militia -- which includes citizen orginized militia akin to that of the Revolutionary war. How would the common citizens of the nation fight against the U.S. army if and when the government abandon's it's duty of protecting our rights and consentrats on establishing order, home land security, or begins taxing us without a reasonable means of representation.

Bear-baiting used to be legal in Britain, but being legal didn't make it the right thing to do.

But in bear baiting, you're not just owning something, your doing something. You're behaving in an immoral way that infringes on the rights of the animals and causes real harm. There is no harm in owning a gun, only in how it used.

I live in Wisconsin, if some people around here didn't have guns, the number of deaths by car acidents would sky rocket. The vegitation would be cleared in short order, and the farming and dairy industries would suffer shortly after that. A few years after that, the cause of this plight (the deer population) would be out of food, and find it's way onto the endangered species list.

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted April 18, 2007 17:41      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
nerdwithnofriends wrote:
This is the statement that caught my eye from boo's post. It's not a valid analogy, because an abused child's parents are his abusers, so of course he knows that it's futile to try and contact him. But he didn't even have to try to make contact with people, this guy.

How often do you hear news stories where the abused child is the one who reports it's parents or to anyone else? Never. I know from first hand experience that abused children don't reach out to other authority figures for help and aren't exactly eager to tell their peers about it either.

It's a moot point anyway. Consider this quote from a rant he mailed to NBC between the first and second shootings(source):

"You had everything you wanted. Your Mercedes wasn't enough, you brats. Your golden necklaces weren't enough, you snobs. Your trust fund wasn't enough. Your vodka and cognac weren't enough. All your debaucheries weren't enough. Those weren't enough to fulfill your hedonistic needs. You had everything,"

That is most definitely not the sort of low self esteem rant that you would get from an abused child.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted April 18, 2007 17:51      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by GameMaster:
The founder's of The United States of America, on the other hand, disagree. They held that if America is to be a free nation the citizens must be allowed to be armed, they believed it so strongly that they made it the second of eight spesifically listed rights.

They also believed that they had the right to own slaves, and that women shouldn't vote, and....

Times change.

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GameMaster
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Icon 1 posted April 18, 2007 18:19      Profile for GameMaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:
quote:
Originally posted by GameMaster:
The founder's of The United States of America, on the other hand, disagree. They held that if America is to be a free nation the citizens must be allowed to be armed, they believed it so strongly that they made it the second of eight spesifically listed rights.

They also believed that they had the right to own slaves, and that women shouldn't vote, and....

Times change.

Most founders didn't believe in in owning slaves, they just saw that it was more important to stay together as a young nation than to push the issue. Had Ben Franklin not waited so long to write a certian letter, slavery very well could have ended a lot sooner.

Times do change, we recongnize now that all people have (and always had) the same intrinisic rights. That doesn't change the fact that we all have a natural right to do anything we please, barring we don't infringe upon others right to do the same. My right to swing my arms ends at your nose. My right to keep, own and/or use anything ends only when my doing so will infringe upon yor rights.

The founders were not perfect, but these are lofty ideas and ideals. To pass bans on ownership of drugs, guns and other items would be saying that man kind doesn't for the most part behave reasonably and for the good of the society (which is what is best for him). I'm sorry that you've lost so much faith in man kind, but I'm not as apt to give up on them. I still maintain that natural rights and natural laws exsist and that for the most part the U.S. is living proof of that. Granted that as time has gone on, the government has gotten away from these ideals -- and that will be it's down fall.

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boo
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Icon 1 posted April 18, 2007 20:15      Profile for boo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by nerdwithnofriends:
]I said they were two extremes. Even so, you can't justify why he killed the students. You say he may have been abused. By who? His parents?

Good God, I certainly never tried to justify his actions. You can't possibly have thought that. I never suggested his parents abused him, either. I simply used that as an analogy. I meant abuse by his peers, which seemed more likely.

Look, the point is, we all know too well that this is not the first time and is unlikely to be the last unless we as a society, collectively, make some effort to understand what can trigger these actions, and stop them. He pulled the trigger, yes, but it doesn’t behoove us to take the easy way out by simply assigning blame, shrugging our shoulders and putting our heads in the sand.

Let me say it another way. This isn't exactly the same, but maybe it will make sense to you.

You come home from school and find your mother in a pool of blood at the bottom of the stairs. She appears to have fallen, broken some bones and been knocked unconscious. What do you do?

Do you roll your eyes and say, "Geez Mom, you idiot. Why don't you do something to help yourself?" as you step over her body?

OR .. do you call for help? I would guess you would be inclined to dial 911 as fast as you could. Because it's OBVIOUS, she needs help. Whether she slipped and fell of her own accord or whether she was pushed, the result is the same. She is injured and needs help.

People often don't hesitate to call for help when someone is hurt, physically. However, less often (it seems) do people call for help when someone is just as devestatingly injured, but mentally. Depressed, stressed out, mentally or emotionally ill people are told things like, "Get over it," "Pull yourself together," "Hey, it's your responsibility," "Don't be such a girl," (the ultimate insult for a guy)

This guy was BROKEN .. just like your mother in my scenario, but in a different way. All I'm saying is that this is going to continue if we don't address the ISSUES that cause people to lose it, in the first place. It's too simplistic to say, "It's his responsibility. He pulled the trigger." Yes, but something may have pushed him hard enough that he finally snapped and took that action.

Now, why wouldn't you or anybody else want to understand what has driven someone to this point? I assume you would like to see an end to these tragedies.

Desperate people will continue taking those kinds of actions if we don't make an effort to understand their pain and try to reach out to them. I wasn't there, you weren't there, none of us (I presume) were there for him. But somebody was. Somebody knew. Several somebodies knew.

And though I have never met anyone like this guy, maybe you have, or maybe you or I will. As a society, we should be concerned about being decent to each other. And we should pay attention to the warning signs and be advised what to do about them, if we see them. That is, assuming we don't want to continue suffering these terrible tragedies.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted April 18, 2007 22:53      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The trouble is this: consent. No one can force medical care of any kind down your throat. If you are an adult or emancipated minor and are competent to refuse care, you have every right to do so (and the guidelines for competency are pretty damn lenient - if you're alert and oriented and seem sober, you can refuse care; the medics might not like it, and they'll tell you how much they don't like it, but you can refuse care). In the case you've outlined boo, where someone is on the floor, unconscious and bleeding, implied consent kicks in. You can just assume that if the person were awake and aware of the situation, they'd want all the help there was to offer. Now, of course, that assumption could be invalid (that's what DNR orders are for), but generally it's not and in fact it would be regarded as extremely weird, if not flat out unethical or immoral, to just leave someone bleeding on the ground.

Mental health works the same way, with the added twist of being a danger to yourself or others. The assumption is that a rational person doesn't want to hurt themselves or anyone else. The thing of it is though, how do you decide the threat is present? Unless the person is already acting out, it's hard to do, and unless a person meets the criteria of being a danger to self or others, or is not competent to refuse care, you can't force them to seek help. You can offer it, but they can refuse. Cho was referred to counselling. From what I've read, he may have even been taken to a hospital for a full evaluation. Now maybe there was more that could be done, but you start running up against a clogged up system, social stigmas, and the ethical grudge match between the rights of individuals and public safety. SOmeone made a very bad call, but it may have been the best they could do under the circumstances. Or it might not have been. We don't know yet. Beyond that, it's as JustJess has already said - you have to want help to get effective help (and that's true for physical ailments as well).

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
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Stereo

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Icon 1 posted April 19, 2007 07:00      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
As more information trickles out (reliable or not), it seems the guy was an abuser, and deliberately cut himself from the world, and that people did care.

Actually, let me refine the idea that he cut himself from the world. If we take the evidence of the two girls who contacted the police because he was harassing them (in written form, but it's still harassement), I have to wonder if his idea of communication could have been very different that what is commonly assumed. I don't know the content (or even extent) of the inappropriate messages, but from what we can learn from what of his other writings has come public, it probably was obcenities, with or without threats of physical violence. Any chance that in his twisted minds, that was just declaration of love? Maybe. But should the girls have agreed those messages that way? No; and they didn't, and from what we now know, they were right to do so.

Add this hypothesis to the fact that a professor who was tutoring him said he was hiding behind a baseball hat and dark glasses, and never answered to petty chatting, and you start to get the idea that the guy was disconnected from "common social behaviour", and no amount of attempt to reach to him would have succeeded. Only psychological help from a professional over and extended period might have brought results.

Then what to do? I must say I agree with Pierre Foglia's opinion piece (La Presse/Cyberpresse, in French), that if any "straight and fitting" person could send their class' weirdo to the psychiatric ward, we would be sacrificing the freedom to be different to the altar of personnal security.

And any way, western countries already have problems offering services to those who really need them; are we to overwork the care givers just so they can take a look at the socially misfit but yet harmless ones?

The only "mistake" that may have been commited in this case might have been from the psychiatrist who may not have properly diagnosed the guy's problem; and then again, he may have done so, but the guy refused treatement (as Xanthine said, it is a right), and the police didn't have a case strong enough to get a court order. And even if they would have succeeded, a psychiatric ailment needs the patient to collaborate to be effective. After all, we are - thank Humanity - mostly past the time were doctors could destroy a brain (abusive electrotherapy or lobotomy) to "help" their patients.

So I worry we are doomed to see this happen again. But am I to give up driving (which isn't a right, but a privilege) - and force everyone to do so - because people can die in a car accident? Well, I won't give up my right to be who I am, even if somewhat misfit, because another decided to go on a killing rampage.

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Eppur, si muove!

Galileo Galilei

Posts: 2289 | From: Gatineau, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
WinterSolstice

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Icon 1 posted April 19, 2007 09:12      Profile for WinterSolstice     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thank you Stereo. Great point, well made. Seeing the photo he sent of himself in between the killings really drove it home for me.

Dude was simply nuts. He went all Lara Croft on them.

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An operating system should be like a light switch... simple, effective, easy to use, and designed for everyone.

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Snaggy

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Icon 2 posted April 19, 2007 11:25      Profile for Snaggy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"We appreciate NBC's co-operation but are rather disappointed in the editorial decision to broadcast these disturbing images. I'm sorry that you were all exposed to those images," Flaherty said during a news conference Thursday in Blacksburg.

http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2007/04/19/video-virginia.html

I agree. Shame on NBC, CNN and all for doing just what the killer wanted, and probably adding fuel to a copycat incident.

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ScholasticSpastic
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Icon 1 posted April 19, 2007 11:27      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm coming late into this thread, so I'm going to hijack Xanthine's opinions. Just consider them mine as well so far because we're pretty much in agreement.

I heard some of the shooter's recording that was made prior to the event. He planned ahead- this was not a random act of violence. He also seemed, to me, to sound schizoaffective if not completely insane. I can't know how insane he was prior to the event-trigger that started it all, but he was certainly a danger to himself and others when he made the tapes. Our mental health system is underfunded and overtaxed. We could prevent most of these incidents if we were just willing to spend some of the money we waste campaining for and against gun rights on decent mental facilities. Like video games and music, guns are all too often a convenient scapegoat we blame in order to avoid thinking about the real issues.

Our society has become a very isolating one in these past couple of decades. Most of our sense of community arrises from listening to/watching the same passive media events and talking about them. We get in our cars and drive to work and often fail to get to know the persons living in houses adjascent to us. We work more hours and socialize less. If we were a society that recognised a failure to make real connections better, the shooter would have been singled out and watched much sooner. However, it's all too common for a person to spend days at a time without engaging in meaningful conversation with their associates. He slipped through the cracks because our cracks are too damned big.

The kids at columbine and this new shooter at Virginia Tech are people who needed help and were not provided with it. If we were willing to spend 0.5% of our military budget on nationalized mental health care these things would be virtually eliminated and our productivity would increase more than enough to make up for the spending. We won't do it, though. We're a nation that refuses to face the fact that most of us could use some time on the couch (yes, myself included).

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"As in repeating a well-known song, so in instincts, one action follows another by a sort of rhythm; if a person be interrupted in a song, or in repeating anything by rote, he is generally forced to go back to recover the habitual train of thought..." (Darwin, The Origin of Species)

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted April 19, 2007 12:15      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Y'know, I just saw a letter to the editor in the NY Times suggesting that people be encouraged to get annual mental health check-ups. Kinda like how we're supposed to get yearly physicals, and such. It doesn't sound like a bad idea. Of course, there are people who won't do it, just as there are people who don't go in for physicals (stop glaring at me like that!), but that might take some of the stigma out of seeing a counsellor, and might help prevent disasters like we saw on Monday.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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ScholasticSpastic
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Icon 1 posted April 19, 2007 12:22      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You'd have to be crazy to not want to see a therapist. Therein lies the problem. [Wink]

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"As in repeating a well-known song, so in instincts, one action follows another by a sort of rhythm; if a person be interrupted in a song, or in repeating anything by rote, he is generally forced to go back to recover the habitual train of thought..." (Darwin, The Origin of Species)

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Grummash

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Icon 1 posted April 19, 2007 12:53      Profile for Grummash     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by GameMaster:

The owership or possession of thing, is not the same as using that thing in a single or several murders. A gun can kill, a knife can kill, a car can kill and medical drugs can kill. Should we make them all illegal or controled substances, or should we make people responsible for their actions and uses of these tools?

Yes, you should make them all controlled items....but hang on - in varying degrees you do already, don't you?

Or are you telling me that in your country, you can drive a car at whatever age you want, buy and consume alcohol without any restrictions and obtain any medical drugs freely without prescription?

'course you're not. So why do you think it makes sense to let any fool with a clean credit history and a few spare dollars have access to firearms.

It may be legal, but it is not sensible.

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...and yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this earth with envious eyes...

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WinterSolstice

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Icon 1 posted April 19, 2007 13:32      Profile for WinterSolstice     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
You'd have to be crazy to not want to see a therapist. Therein lies the problem. [Wink]

I disagree - you'd have to be crazy to want to see a therapist.

No thanks, I don't want any drugs to encourage me to subscribe to the group-think.

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An operating system should be like a light switch... simple, effective, easy to use, and designed for everyone.

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CommanderShroom
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Icon 1 posted April 19, 2007 13:38      Profile for CommanderShroom     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Grummash:

'course you're not. So why do you think it makes sense to let any fool with a clean credit history and a few spare dollars have access to firearms.

It may be legal, but it is not sensible.

Grummash,

Virginia does have a firearm law. Plus a wait time and an application to purchase a gun.

I heard that he lied on the application about his mental history and in the background check it was not caught. This is a sad thing and a terrible mistake. But I highly doubt that if it was caught that the person at the shop would have passed it on over to the guy.

I don't believe there are many states where they do not have some gun possession rules. Some of course are more stringent than others. Much like the laws on car ownership and many other 'privileges' (don't get me started on the Gov't and my privileges, and how poor fucks like me seem to have far less than the rich fucks).

To debate the gun laws at this moment is a ridiculous waste of time and another of the many reasons I am growing weary of this place. Though I consistently wind up looking over here to see the next train wreck.

More to the point of this person is where does personal liberty end and public safety begin? I think that is the trickiest part of the whole thing. He was obviously disturbed. But was he visibly disturbed enough to have warranted an involuntary commitment? In retrospect yes. but at that point in time was it so obvious. As so many people say after any tragedy of this type, "I should have know there was something wrong. I can see the signs now." Of course after the fact the dots are easy to connect. How about before?

And I do honestly believe that adding laws only increases the number of criminals in the world. And that criminal may be yourself. Everyone loves to add a new piece of legislation after something horrible happens. (Can anyone say Patriot Act?). And while there is obvious sense to them. Nothing happens without some backlash. And for everyone piece of legislation that will save people from themselves, could backfire and destroy innocents.

So yeah I am a Libertarian, nutjub, asshole, fuckwad, shithead. But fuck gun laws and fuck government nannies. If I wanted someone to babysit my fucking ass, I'll move back into my mom's place. I will take the chance that something bad will happen to good people,(Don't worry I am not counting myself as a good person) over the possibility of having our lives controlled by some arbitrary power.

I have said my piece.

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Does he know our big secret?
Has one of us confessed?
'Bout the wires circuits and motors
Buried in our chest

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