I don’t know how many layers of ads you’ll have to sit through to read this, but please do — Joan Walsh on the conservative commentariat’s reaction to V-Tech. And no, it’s not to call for more guns in the classroom; it’s the tarring of the victims — yes, the dead people, and the ones in the hospital — for not stopping the shooter. Because that’s what they would have done. Because they are, and you can take this to the bank, very brave manly men who know exactly what they’d do in a similar situation. (They probably have regular drills at home.)
Look. I’m not one of those people who turns to a self-identified liberal or conservative, after one of their like-minded has said something stupid, and demands, “Denounce that!” But I’m wondering why I haven’t heard any — denunciation, that is. The dead haven’t even been buried yet. And here are these prominent, well-compensated jerkoffs essentially saying, “Well, you should have done something.” To a bunch of corpses.
Sometimes I hate this country.
brian stouder said on April 19, 2007 at 2:40 pm
Sometimes I hate this country.
Well, sometimes I hate the (by turns) craven, self-righteous press in this country. MSNBC is always where I turn; they have always struck me as about as good (as in truthful, even-handed, professional) as mass-media gets.
And in the past 2 weeks they have mightily spun their Imus debacle into a great and heroic “internal uprising” –
And now their sensational, incessant, ultimately worthless trumpeting of the murder himself – all the while solemnly reassuring us that “we had serious deliberations” about how much of this tripe to show, or whether they should even show anything at all.
Christ – how long did THAT deliberation take? 3 seconds? 4??
This morning as I was leaving for work Pam turned on the Today Show, and Meredith Vierra was stoically explaining that several VT students that had planned to be on the show suddenly changed their minds and decided not to go onto NBC’s air.
Can’t blame them, at all. NBC is very busily backtracking/spinning/justifying. The jerkoffs over there (Steve Capus chief amongst them) meanwhile continue to essentially say that their Sacred Journalistic Duty requires them not to let the murderer have his say – beyond 10% of each hour of their news broadcasts!!!!!!
You cannot make this stuff up
Jeff said on April 19, 2007 at 2:52 pm
If i said “sometimes i hate the media,” it would be understandable, but overgeneral, unfair to many individuals, and just plain wrong; Brian said all that needed to be said on NBC’s failure of nerve and lust for ratings points in the “young male sociopath” demographic.
As for the country, by which it seems is meant “the conservatives who drive the bus these days,” there’ve been a number of “stop that, y’idiot” posts on National Review’s “The Corner,” along with the usual posturings about the need to teach vigorous self-defense to our youts. I don’t like reading them, but i don’t see anything to trigger national loathing. We just wish more grownups would be, oh, grown up, and that’s a rarely fulfilled hope. Don’t let anger/hate drive your own bus even a few blocks, let alone down to the gun shop.
Off to optomistically fly a kite with my son (no, really!),
ps — you really can’t pessimistically fly a kite, can you? Unless you’re Charlie Brown . . .
nancy said on April 19, 2007 at 3:19 pm
I have my own thoughts about the Cho video(s). I generally fall on the side of “air it,” but NBC’s protestations are ringing pretty hollow. We may need to “understand why,” but from what I saw of the videos, I can’t say I understand any more now than I did before. I mean: He’s crazy. Shithouse-rat crazy. People used to write me multi-page letters about the police who put transistors in their brains and the secret heart-attack cure the AMA has KILLED to keep from you (cayenne pepper), but as soon as I knew what I was reading, I threw them away.
And this may be a measure of my own distance from daily journalism at the moment, but when I saw the photos of him pointing those guns, all I thought was, “Imagine if your kid was one of the ones killed. You’d be thinking, ‘This is the last thing my baby saw.'” I wouldn’t want to be the provider.
But, just to show you how wishy-washy I can be, I can argue the other side as well.
brian stouder said on April 19, 2007 at 3:53 pm
I can understand that seeing this person’s face was ‘news’; and describing the screed he wrote, and the time-stamp showing that he mailed the damned thing after he had begun killing (the campus police and administration really do have a lot to answer for, I think).
But I was taken aback when Brian Williams indicated that the postal delivery person alerted them to the return address, and then “NBC security” opened the box!! How did “NBC Security” decide that there wasn’t anthrax or some sort of explosive in the box? On what basis did they risk opening it themselves?
Or was it simply another of their legendarily fast “deliberations” that weighed risk versus reward…and by God they wanted that reward!!
“Imagine if your kid was one of the ones killed. You’d be thinking, ‘This is the last thing my baby saw.’”
I thought that, too. And another thing that bothered me was – the other shit-house rats are watching this, and the ante has been raised. You can’t just leave a “goodbye cruel world” note…now the in-thing is to produce your own multi-media blast, for the post-carnage shows.
And I wondered, how close did this fellow come to recording his own rampage? (some estimates are that he shot his last video within an hour of the Norris Hall shootings)
And I further wondered – when the next guy does something like this, and DOES electronically forward the video – will the networks show us that, too?
I can argue the other side as well. but it is tempting to wonder how even-handed you would be, if Fox News had been the one news organization on earth, that this killer chose to bequeath this grand ‘exclusive’ upon
jcburns said on April 19, 2007 at 4:38 pm
What’s amazing to me is that Blacksburg, Virginia is pretty conservative, pretty Christian-filled territory. This IS the land of folks carrying concealed weapons who say they are prepared to use them. If not here, where would the “just go for the guy” strategy work? SMU? Liberty University?
And yet those who bark at the corpses from the sidelines don’t acknowledge the lesson: yeah, you can say “I’d have made a play for the gun,” but it’s really a different experience when real, non-video-game bullets are slicing through you.
As messed up as this guy was, my money is on the “you” in “you made me do this” being a bunch of rich, white kids who enjoyed shunning, dumping on, and generally humiliating the foreign-looking kid. No excuse (not even close) for his snapping and doing what a lot of other ridiculed kids in their darkest places think of doing as an act of revenge, but it does shed a tiny ray of light on what tortures tortured kids’ souls.
Dorothy said on April 19, 2007 at 4:48 pm
Brian I was home longer than usual this morning and watched the Today show. They had Natalie Morales in the mailroom live, showing the contraption they use to open questionable packages. They had it installed after the anthrax scare there a few years ago, that caused the entire 3rd floor to be quarantined she said. It’s a box of sorts, clear, with a pipe that flows upward (to God-knows-where?) and I think there are holes where you put your hands in gloves, to open said packages. She also showed the box of gloves that are now required for all mailroom personnel when sorting and delivering mail.
nancy said on April 19, 2007 at 4:48 pm
I dunno — from all accounts, this guy was withdrawn and crazy-weird from the get-go. They say he shunned all attempts at conversation, etc. And I don’t see Va. Tech as a haven of rich white kids; it wasn’t Brown. Just looking at the list of victims, it appears there was a broad cross-section of races, ages, etc.
Human relations are a loop. You get what you give.
Jim in Fla said on April 19, 2007 at 6:28 pm
Using your body as a barracade, blocking the door and giving your life so the students in your class room had a chance to escape stands as testament to the bravery of the people in that building. No one knows how he/she will react in the situation such as that.
The blowhards second guessing the actions of the students and the faculity that morning don’t even come close to the “manliness” of Liviu Librescu
LA mary said on April 19, 2007 at 6:46 pm
My son’s teacher, upon seeing the flag a half staff, wondered if there were flags at half staff in Iraq for the 145 civilians killed in one day there, yesterday. I don’t think she meant to diminish the horror or what happened in Virginia. There’s just so much carnage.
I can barely stand the news anymore. We keep killing each other.
Cathy Dee said on April 19, 2007 at 8:27 pm
I still watch the news, killing or not. I grew up during Vietnam. Kids my age got tough.
John Brown said on April 19, 2007 at 11:00 pm
I was in a Fort Wayne bar many years ago when it was held up by a guy with a gun. It was just me and the bartender there. I had time to gauge the distance that was between me and him and chose not to risk doing anything unless he started to turn more violent. He left after getting the money, no harm done to either of us. The next day when I came back to the bar it was full of people saying what they would have done if it had happened to them. Most of the comments ran along the lines of “I would have stuck the gun up his butt”. The bartender just came around the bar and said, ” I can’t thank you enough for not doing anything last night except what he told us to do.” Dodging bullets Keanu Reaves style only works because it it in the script that way.
Jeff said on April 19, 2007 at 11:54 pm
Latest of a number of reactions (are they denouncements? Sound like it) on National Review Online’s The Corner:
In a Classroom WIth a Gunman [John Podhoretz]
I have to dissent, in the strongest possible terms, from John Derbyshire’s shocking posts on Virginia Tech. The notion that a human being or group of human beings holding no weapon whatever should somehow “fight back” against someone calmly executing other people right in front of their eyes is ludicrous beyond belief, irrational beyond bounds, and tasteless beyond the limits of reason.
“Why didn’t anyone rush the guy?” Derb asks. Gee, I don’t know. Because he was executing people? Because if you rush a guy with a gun, he shoots you in the head the way he executed the teachers in each classroom?
Derb claims proudly to be touching a “third rail” by raising something no one wants to talk about. The third rail is a metaphor for electrocution. What happened in those classrooms was no metaphor. It was a psychotic with a gun and a lot of people with no weaponry at their disposal. A few were astonishingly brave, and deserve to be considered heroes. Everybody else was just a person either in danger of being murdered, being mortally wounded, or being murdered.
In the name of old-fashioned and time-honored forms of human behavior, Derb has trampled on one of the oldest: Judge not, lest ye be judged.
UPDATE: From my e-mails, I gather people have a strange idea of what went on during Cho’s spree — that the victims were simply standing around waiting to be shot. Everyone who wants to know the actual facts of the matter should read David Maraniss’s account of what happened inside the classrooms.
04/19 04:05 PM
Bob said on April 20, 2007 at 9:50 am
I read that Fred Phelps’ merry band of lunatics intends to demonstrate at the victims’ funerals. People should stop validating those nutjobs by reacting to them, and just ignore them.
nancy said on April 20, 2007 at 11:43 am
Jeff, granted, a few fellow travelers have stood up to these dummies, but not enough. I like what John Brown said, about the virtues of not being Rambo.
A few months ago, a pizza-shop manager was gunned down on the job in FW. He’d been robbed before, and had taken to carrying a gun, even though the store owner told him not to. As I understand, his body was found with his unfired gun nearby, suggesting he was beaten to the draw.
At the time, Brian Stouder left a mournful comment on a FW blog item about this incident, saying what a waste of life for a couple hundred bucks in the cash register — a perfectly reasonable conclusion to draw from such a tragedy, and exactly the one the owner must have feared would happen with two guns in the store, not just one.
Well. He was attacked, strenuously, by another commenter, who said the guy died gallantly in the never-ending war on crime, and his choice was entirely defensible, and that it’s better he went out the way he did than to let the bad guys get away unchallenged. It was amazing, but then again, it came from a guy who’d previously said that he once saw me crossing the street in front of the newspaper, considered running me down, but restrained himself, calling it his “good deed for the day.” It gives you a little glimpse into the heads of these armchair warriors. You just pray they stick to video games.
LA mary said on April 20, 2007 at 12:39 pm
I grew up during Vietnam too (born in 1953). I still get waves of sadness and outrage over the killing.
brian stouder said on April 20, 2007 at 2:43 pm
He was attacked, strenuously, by another commenter, who said the guy died gallantly in the never-ending war on crime, and his choice was entirely defensible, and that it’s better he went out the way he did than to let the bad guys get away unchallenged.
Yes – I remember that exchange; it was one of those that made me sigh, clatter away on the keyboard, and then say ‘screw it’.
Come to think of it, I harldy ever peek in there anymore….and come to further thinking of it – I used to be puzzled by good ol’ Nance’s general assessment of that website (something like – it’s almost saddening to visit);
but now that I think of it, I understand
Emily Booth said on April 20, 2007 at 10:33 pm
I grew up during the Vietnam War. I don’t watch TV news anymore. I read the news online. Granted, it’s not like holding the newspaper in my hands and going thru it page by page; I tend to pick and choose my news stories by headline. I feel sorry for Cho’s parents. Parents don’t always know who their children are. It’s like King Lear.
brian stouder said on April 20, 2007 at 10:40 pm
OK – this got me curious and I went back and found that thread about the pizza shooting on the other blog.
The first comment of the thread was a lame attempt at some gallows humor:
“My take on this is simple:
Trespassers will be shot…survivors will be shot AGAIN!”
and then all-around good guy Alex smacked it out of the ball park, on the very next comment
This certainly throws some water on the gun industry’s tired canard that if everyone were packin’ there’d be no crime. For years law enforcement has been telling the public that drawing a weapon on an armed criminal is about the stupidest thing you can do. Evidently [the dead pizza clerk’s] boss realized this too.