For the past week, I've been struggling to write my thoughts about the killings at Virginia Tech. The massive media coverage hasn't helped. Instead of gaining any kind of clarity, I've become angrier and angrier, listening as everyone with an agenda and a soapbox hijacks this tragedy and twists it to suit his or her own ends. We’ve heard endless “reasons” for Seung-Hui Cho’s actions: video games, legalized abortion, gun control, not enough gun control, school bullying, liberalism, the Devil.
Seung-Hui Cho was mentally ill. Were there other factors that led him to shoot 32 people? Probably. But none of those factors made Cho psychotic. His mental illness made him psychotic. Psychosis is not a product of society. It’s not an “excuse.” It’s a product of brain chemistry, a biological disorder.
But people want someone to blame. And they adore pointing fingers. So the eagerness to politicize this tragedy, and ignore the bare fact of its cause, is not surprising. But it is reprehensible. If we truly want to prevent this from happening again, we must focus on the issue at hand—mental illness—and how best to get treatment and help to those who need it.
My heart goes out to the families of the murdered, and to Cho’s family, who lost their boy before he ever picked up a gun.