Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sympathy for the Devil (Sort of.)

Something has been bothering me in the wake of the tragedy at Virginia Tech and I feel conflicted that it is even bothering me.

It's how some bloggers and writers are so flippant over the killer, Cho Seung-Hui. From the blog Stubborn Facts, we get this post, which is from an op-ed in Time:

"I've lost interest in the cracks, chips, holes and broken places in the lives of men like Cho Seung-Hui ... The pain, grievances and self-pity of mass killers are only symptoms of the real explanation. ... Only a narcissist could decide that his alienation should be underlined in the blood of strangers. ... The real problem can be found in the killer's mirror.."

To which the blogger replies: "That's about my take on it too."

Now, I can understand this. When I heard that Cho had taken his own life, I was somewhat glad that he could no longer walk the face of the earth. It's hard to not feel anger looking at his face. It's easy to not care about the plight of this man who was so full of evil and hate that he took the lives of 32 people just for being people. It's easy to make Cho into a simple, evil character who should be forgotten, if not forever cursed.

(I refused to watch the video Cho sent to NBC because I have no interest in hearing his explainations.)

But the fact is, the story is more complex than that. From the media reports, it seems that this man had some serious mental problems. For whatever reason, in his mind he felt invisible and felt that the world was against him.

Some have argued that we should pay the killer no mind because of what he did, but then one wonders if he already was forgotten by others before he did this heinous act.

Now, none of this excuses what he did. There are many people with mental problems that don't take this extreme. But the fact remains, that Cho had some problems that couldn't simply be solved by "getting over it."

I don't have a simple explaination as to why Cho did what he did. There isn't one. What I do know is that this wasn't snot-nosed kid who needed to stop whining, or simply an evil person, or even someone with a mental illness, that could be excused. The answers are far more complex; and we might have to face the fact that there just is no answer.

In the end, good and evil are not always so obvious, even when they appear to be.

1 comment:

The Val Blog said...

some people refuse to see the world in shades other than BLACK..and WHITE...

boy...are they...WRONG.