What Caused the Virginia Tech Shooting?
I hope you can agree that any "reason" for such a massacre will, by definition, not make sense. If something like that can make sense to you, you scare me. It's that simple. There are no reasons for something like that. I understand those who must evaluate others' potential for such violence need to learn all they can, but why would the rest of us even want to understand something so shocking, so alien to the rest of us (I hope).
It offends me suggestions have been made this happened either because of his race or nationality, or because of hints he may have been diagnosed with autism. None of those have anything to do with it. Blaming one individual's actions on any group is a terrible and a foolish idea. Yet some insist on pointing to incidental characteristics to provide an "explanation".
If such comments have merit, why, when "normal" white Americans commit such crimes, isn't it suggested it was because they were a normal white American? Such red herrings are dragged out whenever possible simply because bigotry is always seeking excuses to justify itself. It is time everyone, and especially those in the media, learned that lesson, stopped adding fuel to the fires of bigotry, and tried sticking to relevant facts instead.
While less repulsive, the suggestion that he was bullied has no more merit. Many people are bullied, some much worse than anything hinted at in this case, and yet never decide to randomly shoot as many people as they can. For the ultimate proof, look at one of the victims, Liviu Librescu. This man, a Holocaust survivor, endured tragedies and terrors so great, just contemplating his childhood is enough to wake nightmares.
Yet, with such a background, what was his choice? To, instead of killing the innocent, sacrifice his own life to protect as many as he could. If his experiences did not drive him to commit mass murder, then his example should forever silence the whining of those who say "you drove me to it" as they slaughter random victims and those whose "offences" were much less than murder.
Why did the shooter do it? Although many of those who have done the same thing before probably had similar motives, he was extremely open about it. He sent a package containing his "reasons" to NBC. He wanted people to question what they'd done. He wanted them to feel the guilt for his crimes. And he wanted the media to look for and publicize "his side of the story". He wanted them to promote him as a "martyr".
In other words, he was a spoiled little brat who decided he'd "show everybody", no matter what the cost. He considered those who "celebrated" Hitler's birthday with a massacre to be "martyrs", and he considered that he was one, too. Perhaps the media coverage of the murders at Columbine High helped shape such an arrogant attitude. Certainly, he expected and wanted media coverage himself.
And, what did the media do? They claimed they had no choice, that it was "breaking news", and so they aired his repulsive and obscene rants. They gave him exactly what he wanted. In a sense, they repaid him for providing them with a big story by giving him what he implicitly asked for in return. They may not have driven him to it, but they probably encouraged his attitude, and they certainly rewarded his actions.
Whoever the next shooter is, the media coverage of this story has no doubt encouraged them to continue thinking everyone else is "driving them to it". It has reinforced their belief they will become a "martyr". And it has shown them that, if they want the world to hear "their side", the media will give them just that. Although every individual is responsible for whatever they decide to do, in many ways the media is responsible for encouraging further shootings.
What could they have done differently? They could have covered "breaking news" by ignoring the whining self-proclaimed martyr who caused so much pain and loss, and focusing attention on those who deserve it instead. Yes, most if not all of you have heard of Liviu Librescu, but why haven't you heard more about him than about the shooter? His example, of decency and self-sacrifice in the face of hatred and tragedy, is one worth paying attention to.