DEATH AT COLLEGE
It's been called the deadliest shooting rampage in modern American history.
On April 16, 2007, student Cho Seung-Hui went on a violent rempage at Virginia Tech, killed over thirty people. Cho, 23, was a South Korean native and a grad student at the school.
After the shootings, the LS Kids discussed the event. We talked and e-mailed, and shared our opinions, thoughts, and fears. And as always, we comforted and supported one another.
Each article reproduced here came from that discussion. Many of them were verbatim e-mails during the talk in the days after the tragedy. Each article reproduced here is the opinion of the individual writer, and does not neccessarily reflect the views of the group as a whole.
This issue is what we said.
Okay. So here is what I think about that whole shooting. This kid Cho went in and shot 32 people and himself. They said he was mentally disturbed.
When the teachers saw the writing that he did, why didn't they try to talk to him or get him help? Also, I have an article that said he was a victum of racial comments. Any victIm of racial comments is going to think about doing something like that. I know that everytime I'm called a spic lover, I think about doing something to the people.
He was a shy kid. Nobody should say mean things to shy people. Or to people from other countries. And about that whole "rich kids" thing he was talking about, maybe he had a point there.
Now, I'm not saying it was right for him to do it. But I think he made his point. Now, about the rich kids. I hate them too, because from what I have experienced, everything is just given to them and it still isn't enough for them; they want more. So they start to pick on other people who are "below" them to make themselves feel better.
I kind of feel bad for that kid who shot the people. This probably wouldn't have happened if he wasn't picked on.
-DCS Bureau, New York
THIS GUY IN MY CLASS
I understand what you mean about feeling sad for him. I think
he was so sad, and so hurt---Cause sometimes I feel that
way. I mean, a lot of preppy rich kids are so mean.
I know this guy, Richard, in my class. And people are really mean to him, except me and a few other people. His parents are so mean to him even. And people at school don't care why, just they are mean. And I think he could be a school shooter. And I
don't think he's a bad person. I just know he's so tired of people being mean.
I mean, I feel the same way but in a different sort of way. In some ways, he scares me because of it. But I really don't think he's going to do something. I am just not mean to him, only nice. I don't know why other people are mean to him really.
He is obsessed with what rich people have, instead of things that are interesting---Which I understand, but if you don't got it, you don't got it. So just make something, or if you don't got it then just be weird in an opposite way; then it's like you didn't want it. And they can't be so unique cause they are just what they bought.
But it's sad about the Virginia Tech shootings. I feel sad for those people who died, or their friends, or the people who were there and lived, and also for the families of the ones that died. But in some ways, I feel saddest for Cho. I know that's weird. I don't think he should have done that, but just there's something so sad I feel about him.
I just don't know. Like what Lizz said about why didn't they help
him. Everyone's saying they knew he was weird. I know Richard is weird---He realy scares me---But I don't do anything about
it. It just seems like someone could have helped or something
-DCS Bureau, Illinois
Yes, it was horrible. The only reason that I feel bad for Cho is because he was crying out for help via his writing and no one listened.
As an human being he had the resposibility to control himself. He was the own ruler of his life. Saying that I did something because someone else called me something nasty (and yes, everybody gets called nasty things, not just a selected few and I am sure that everybody has said something nasty too) is just an excuse to continue the bad behavor.
In all honesty if he wanted the help THAT bad he would have sought it.
Which does bring me to a different point all together. You may ask me why I am saying this. Why, what if he was too afraid to say anything? He was in a different environment than other people and people can be so rude to those they don't understand...
I wouldn't put the blame entirely on the students he shot. He shot 32 random people. He just went through the school and BANG! There goes the life of someone who could have made a difference. In a positive way.
So whatever his case may have been: misunderstood, misguided, jaded... he killed innocent people. Cho is a murderer. He took the life of innocent people. People that may or may have not contributed to his snapping. A lack of self control in ANY sense makes me ill.
Murder is no way justifiable by saying: "Well, those idiots shouldn't have made fun of him."
Yes, I do feel bad for him. I feel bad because he felt so trapped. I feel bad because he felt he couldn't tell anybody what was wrong. I feel bad for him because I do believe he was sexually abused as a child (Main charaters of his plays tended to get raped by powerful male figures, so I took a stab). My sympathy is small, however.
A CHOICE HE DIDN'T MAKE
The Kids' email list has been going strong this month. Posts are coming in from everybody about the shootings at Virginia Tech. I myself haven't posted anything about it yet -- I was saving it for this column, actually. So brace yourselves. Here comes my opinion.
What I think is this: it's sad any way you look at it, all the way around. A grand-scale tragedy, obviously -- the lives of twenty-three innocent people wrongly and abruptly ended by an act of unspeakable violence. Families and friends shattered and reeling from shock. Fear rising to the surface of everyone's lives once more as we all try to make sense of yet another nationwide catastrophe.
It was the fear that bothered me most when I read what the Kids had posted to the list. Several of them know at least one person in their day-to-day lives who matches the stereotypical description of a school shooter: a quiet, angry kid with very few friends who is constantly picked on, put down, and otherwise goaded by bullying peers. High school or college, it doesn't matter. It's the same everywhere you look, and it disgusts me.
I could climb up on a soapbox right now and start preaching about how none of this kind of thing would ever happen if we all just tried to be a little nicer to each other, and there is a point to that -- whomever coined the saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," was either drowning in denial or had obviously never been a high school student. It's a jungle out there for teens and young people in our nation's colleges and schools, and words do hurt. A lot. If we could recognize that pain in one another and make a collective effort to stop it, things would be a great deal better all around.
But that isn't really the point I'm trying to make here. Everyone can blame bullies and bad parenting and everyone else in the general population till we all turn blue in the face and pass out, but there comes a time when the responsibility for your actions rests solely on your shoulders and no one else's.
If I could speak to the Virginia Tech shooter right now, today, I have to admit I'd tell him I'm sorry that he was teased and ostracized and made to be angry and depressed. But I'd also tell him that innocent blood is on his hands many times over, and that it isn't anyone's fault but his own. He chose to do what he did. We all get teased and put down at times. We all get angry. A great many of us even get severely depressed more often than we'd like to admit. And that's okay. It's okay to be angry, it's okay to be sad. It's okay to have feelings. What isn't okay is when you take those feelings and start ruining lives with them, which none of the Kids have done. They choose not to hurt other people, and that's a choice Cho Seung-Hui didn't make.
Because of what happened at Virginia Tech, there are girls in LSK who are afraid to get up in the mornings and go to school now. And that, to me, is every bit as bad as murdering innocent people. It makes me angry just the same. The things that the Virginia Tech shooter intentionally did were horrific, there's no doubt about that. But the things he didn't mean to do were just as bad. Every action has a reaction. Every cause has an effect, and that effect can ripple until it touches millions upon millions of people -- including some Kids about whom I care very, very much.
And that, my friends, is what makes this personal.
RHYME AND REASON
In my dreams, I've been spent.
In this world, I am spent.
I've walked along the roads of unforgiven.
And I have lost all trace of imagination.
Words don't come so easy to me.
Life is not easy for me.
And I walk along the trails for memories
Ones I'm slowly forgetting.
And I hold love, as it continues to live.
And I look around, at those still living.
and I wonder what it's like, if I were to pass,
and I wonder who would be there.
And these words don't come so easy.
And my imagination doesn't work so easy.
And slowly my mind loses balance.
And my heart has lost it's way.
And I can't see where tomorrow begins,
Has tomorrow already begun?
And I've lost trace of time.
Or has time lost trace of me?
Who are we to judge?
Who are you to judge?
What in this life to we gain,
But the judgment of another.
And what of the lies?
What do we gain of the lies?
Imagination has lost its feeling.
And this world of gossip has lost its interest.
Words dont come to me no more,
I've lost the sanctity, words I cant find anymore.
Where do I begin now?
What do I do now?
Where my imagination is hindered.
My only strength is hindered.
And the words,
Just won't come to me anymore.
The JJJ Is:
Assistant Leaders: Tiffany Allen, Debbie Benfield
President: MarKel Wheeland
Vice-President: Meghan Rockey
Secretary: Cris Miller
Staff: Shelby Sander, Lacey Richner, Carleah Stabley, Biz Albright, Mike Schedin, Robin Prescott, Ida Yost
Distant Correspondents: MacKenzie Brundage, Regina Spence, Shadow Snow, Chelsey Crouchley, Goth Lizz
Foreign Bureau: Janice Marco
You know, a part of me agrees with all of these guys; I gotta be honest. I said something similar about Columbine High---Even though it's a horrible tragedy and I feel bad for the victims, I do hope there are some bullies wondering if they're next.
These feelings don't come out of nowhere. Nobody's born evil; I really believe that. The actions you take are often trained into you by the way you're treated growing up. And I, like most of the Kids, understand how it feels to be that trapped and helpless.
But it's important to remember that, no matter how badly you feel, though, there are better ways of dealing with it than violence. We've pretty much all been through that---You guys, me....All of us have been teased and bullied. I remember how that felt. But we've all gotten through it without hurting a
lot of innocent people. There are healthier ways to deal with it, even though we may feel like being violent. I understand that feeing, but I never shot anyone, and I hope none of the Kids ever come to that.
In no way do I condone what Cho did. It was a reprehensible crime. But I do feel some sympathy for anyone who feels that persecuted and trapped.
Cho tried to get help. He had gone to a mental hospital at one point, and was released for outpatient care, and told to check in occasionally. Our system failed Cho---And, in turn, his victims. I have some sympathy all the way around---Mainly for the dead and grieving, but I also feel for the trapped person who tried to get help, and couldn't.
Having said that, Lizz and Shadow, you both make a good point---If people were all nicer to one another, there would be a lot less of this kind of violence. So I do feel for the shooter a bit, as well. And I'm proud of you guys for having such compassion.
There's a lot of blame on every side, really. And there's a lot of bad feeling, as well. And you know, I do feel bad for the shooter, too, even though I feel a lot worse for the victims and the survivors. All I can really say is that I hope some people learn a lesson from this, and begin to act a little kinder, and support each other a little more.
And while I'm on the subject....I love you guys. Every one of you. Just so you know.