Tragedy at Virginia Tech: A Standard too High

The Virginia Tech Massacre last Monday has once again shocked the nation.  Here in civilized America, the most technologically advanced society, where man dwells far above the mire of barbarism, a young man commits a most uncivilized act, a heinous betrayal of humanity even by barbaric standards.
 
Pundits seek someone to blame for not stopping Cho Seung-Hui before he unleashed his nefariousness upon the innocent.  All the nation grieves and rightly so.  For these young people did not sign up to serve on the front lines of combat.  What can a Christian say about this iniquitous rampage: here are a few thoughts.

We should grieve with the families and friends of those who were wantonly murdered because we know that God did not create the world to be a place of animalistic savagery.  We, of all people, should know the pain, hurt and sense of loss that sin leaves in its wake, especially sin of this magnitude.  As a parent, it is hard for me to imagine the hurt that these families are experiencing, but I can pray that God will turn their tragedy into eternal triumph as He has done for so many.  I pray that their great grief will be relieved by our Greater God as has been the case of untold millions through the ages. 

As Christians, we concur that blame is appropriate.  Someone is to blame but whom?  Well, it is quite obvious; it is Cho Seung-Hui.  He killed them, not the gun, society or Virginia Tech’s misadministration.  One person and only one person murdered them.  However, if society accepts that one person is responsible, society must also accept that the ultimate problem is beyond the reductive corrective measures of modernism, which unfortunately is a forbidden conclusion in today’s culture. 

What is difficult for modern civilized society to admit is that quite apart from a lack of opportunity, poverty, or educational deficiencies there is something so deep, so deadly, and so barbaric in man, that if left unchecked, a person who is undeniably like us can unleash this kind of brutality; for to admit this, is to concomitantly face the reality that he is not only like us, but we are like him. 

Yes, Cho is different in that he apparently had some profound problems, which caused his lurking evil to emerge, but that is a difference in degree not in kind, leaving us with the haunting question of why?  Why is there this darkness within man?  How could a human, any human, become so animalized?  Could it be that our therapeutic culture’s answers drawn solely from biology and societal insensitivity are mere glosses over the real problem of why….

Further, let me say that the reason no one did anything is simple.  At one time, someone like Cho, who so obviously posed a threat to society, could have been sent to a sanitarium and kept there indefinitely; but our “compassionate” cultural elite emptied the sanitariums about thirty years ago because they were inhumane.  Admittedly, there were some serious abuses in some of them.  But the answer was to correct the problems not to empty them because that meant all those who lived there had to go somewhere, and they did.  Many became what we now refer to as the homeless, and others like Cho entered into normal society if only to redefine what normal is.

At times, the Cho’s of society make their presence unforgettably known. The problem is that the standard is too high.  Even if the evidence was overwhelming that Cho needed to be isolated from society, that is virtually impossible in a culture where the greatest values are tolerance, rights over responsibility, non-judging, and the esteemed commandments of Political Correctness.

We cannot have it both ways.  We cannot rid our society of truth, proper discrimination, and the ability to determine the most extreme threats to society, along with places to put people like Cho, and then attack those who did not remove them from society. Had they recommended that Cho be removed from society before this scourge, they would have surely been demonized for intolerance and bigotry. 

The reality is, if the standard of what constitutes a lethal threat to the innocent of society is too high to remove Cho then the standard is too high.