Oh, of course, he didn't tell me personally, but it might as well have been me.
On Monday, Seung-Hui Cho, a 23-year student at Virginia Tech, lost his marbles and killed 32 people. On that day, I was so angry over this shooting, that I asked, "Why don't they just shoot themselves first?" In that post, I knew the person was seriously messed up but frankly, I didn't give a damn about whatever was going on inside him at the moment he snapped. I said:
Maybe he wanted to go down in history because his life wasn't worth it in the first place? Maybe he knew that he wouldn't get out alive or would face the Virginia death penalty? Maybe he just snapped after reportedly shooting his girlfriend in a domestic dispute? Maybe something else horrible happened to him? Maybe he was just a loser who couldn't control himself and wanted to inflict as much pain on others before he took himself out of the equation.And I was so mad at this guy, that he would do something like that, that I wanted to smack him dead. I also wanted, in my heart of hearts, for some one to rise up and beat the crap out of the dude. I don't think I was actually thinking rationally, but more emotionally, more viscerally. That "someone" I was talking about were the students themselves.
So, in a nutshell, I momentarily agreed with folks like John Derbyshire at the National Review Online.
I had been listening to an April 17th story related by Virginia Tech student, Erin Sheehen. Sheehen was one of only four students who survived Cho's rampage through their German class. They survived by playing dead and after Cho left, they blockaded the door and stopped Cho from returning to the room. It made my blood boil just hearing about what the kids and teachers went through. I applauded them for not letting him back into the room.
Maybe I've seen one too many kung fu or action hero movies. But everything in me screamed, "Just knock that fucker out."
That was complete and utter rage speaking. I was accused at Gothamist of blaming the students for not trying hard enough to stop the asshole with a gun. An asshole with a gun is a powerful thing. I guess I've known too many people to die from gunfire, and how much I hate guns. And people who shoot folks for no good reason. How much sometimes, I wish someone would just "knock the fucker out." Looking back, I realized that I was blaming the victim. I'm sorry.
So, I offer this conversation and this mea culpa. I am one of the worst people in the world.