the Unending Journey of the Wandering Author

A chronicle of the unending journey of the Wandering Author through life, with notes and observations made along the way. My readers should be aware I will not censor comments that disagree with me, but I do refuse to display comment spam or pointless, obscene rants. Humans may contact me at thewanderingauthor at yahoo dot com - I'll reply as I am able.

Location: New England, United States

I have always known I was meant to write, even when I was too young to know the word 'author'. When I learned that books were printed, I developed an interest in that as well. And I have always been a wanderer, at least in my mind. It's not the worst trait in an author. For more, read my writing; every author illuminates their heart and soul on the pages they write upon.

Monday, April 23, 2007

What Caused the Virginia Tech Shooting?

Variations of this question have been asked in the media ever since the news broke, yet not once have they considered the one obvious cause. Before I point out the Emperor's shocking and in this case pornographic nudity, let me briefly dispose of some of the more idiotic aspects of what some segments of the media have suggested. First. they insist on looking for his "reason" as if they're going to find some answer that makes sense to everyone.

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.

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Blogger The Therapist said...

Yes. There is no "reason" because his acts were unreasonable. I agree we should be paying much more attention to people like Librescu. As a professor at a rural university, I do not know if I could be as strong as he. I only hope that I could.

I honor this man in my classroom now.

April 23, 2007 11:03 PM  
Blogger suzanabrams said...

Hi Ray,
A powerful post. Yes, it was too good a story for any media to have missed. He literally posted it to them & i have to admit NBC gave him the attention he would have wanted.
I don't know how I'd feel about calling him a "spoilt little brat" though.
He had a deranged mind that would not have been controlled by logical reasoning.
And you are right of course. The human mind goes beyond all boundaries of colour, creed, culture or religion..and the mind must accept the workings of its own responsbilities.

April 23, 2007 11:26 PM  
Blogger The Wandering Author said...

I hope that you never find out if you could be as strong. None of us ever knows, and I think many of us wonder, but it is much better to never have to confront such a situation.

April 23, 2007 11:30 PM  
Blogger The Wandering Author said...

Susan, perhaps I was unfair in calling him that. I was simply so furious at the idea that he'd portray himself as a 'martyr' when at least one of his victims was a true martyr.

April 24, 2007 12:46 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Excellent, thoughtful post. I wonder if we'd see fewer massacres of this type if the press didn't salivate at the elevated ratings to come and drain every bit of blood out of that turnip ...

April 24, 2007 8:59 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

This is the best post I've read so far on the VT shootings. You are so right. We know the media will feed the frenzy as ratings make the news, not the facts. That teacher stuck in my mind more than any other aspect of the story. They picked on the one boy who was carried out also. There are 33 victims, there is plenty of news coverage without focusing on the obvious insanity of a shooter. Autism? who suggested that? I have words to share with that person.
On a side note, I'm going for the publishing at lulus. It's a good place to start for first time publishers, I'll see where it leads?

April 24, 2007 9:17 AM  
Anonymous wolfbaby said...

The media only cares about ther ratings... so I don't watch most of it because I don't agree with what they do. The things they focus on tend to send me over the edge in anger. They need to focus on as you said... the things that really matter, instead of giving these people the very attention they want...

April 24, 2007 6:13 PM  
Blogger DBA Lehane said...

Who can ever explain the reasons some people want to inflict such evil on others. I suspect there is a whole myriad of "causes" but my gut instinct is that a driving factor is some idiotic idea of 15 minutes of fames.

In a world and a dumbed down society where notions of celebrity (no matter how stupid or repulsive) seem to be the main aspiration for people should we be shocked that some will seek their moment in the spotlight by any means necessary.

The fact he had made a "media package" seems to back-up the theory he saw himself as someone who wanted to be a "celebrity". And the media fell over themselves to give him that exposure.

This tragedy was almost reality tv fame at its sickest!

April 25, 2007 2:36 AM  
Blogger Hey Lady said...

A-freaking-men. You can't put a reason to something so completely irrational. Guy was obviously bonkers, not that that's an excuse (and opens up a whole other bucket of worms to rant about). That Liviu guy - every time I hear about him it makes me want to cry. What he did was awesome. "Awesome" as in the pre-1980s California Valley definition of the word: full of awe.

April 26, 2007 7:16 PM  

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