I watched the BBC breaking news last night on TV regarding Cho Seung-Hui’s Media package sent to NBC. The Police are now expressing regret that NBC chose to air the video. Last night I couldn’t help but think that NBC was giving Cho his final wish: notoriety. Cho was obviously a creative soul. He was a creative writer, a playwrite, etc., etc. His playwrite teacher said to his class recently,
“There was violence in Cho’s writing — but there is a huge difference between writing about violence and behaving violently. We could not have known what he would do. We treated him like a fellow student, which is what he was. I believe the English Department behaved responsibly in response to him. And please hear me when I say this: it was our responsibility, not yours. All you could have done was come to me, or some other administration or faculty member, with your concerns — and you would have been told that we were aware of Seung Cho, we were concerned about him, and we were doing what we believed was appropriate.”
I don’t know what to make of the fact that Cho’s creativity was wound so tight with hate, fear, repression, and bitter resentment. He seemed to loathe people and desperately want their attention. As I listened to Alan Lipman of the Center for the Study of Violence analyze Cho’s Media package on the BBC last night, I thought that all of this is obvious in retrospect! But in fact, we can’t possibly know that someone with Cho’s very signs will do something violent. Here is our human frailty, how we know we’re not God. We can’t predict what anyone will do, or even with certainty what WE ourselves will do. Take, forinstance, the pastor’s wife who recently used a shotgun on her husband. She just wanted to use the loaded gun to make him talk, she never thought she’d actually pull the trigger. In retrospect she knows it was a dumb thing to do, we all know it. But at the time it seemed rational to her.
Here’s what I keep thinking: Guns and hurting people don’t mix. The most rational thing a hurting person can do is get the guns out of arms reach. Don’t talk to me about your right to bear arms if I as your neighbor know that you’re suicidal! Maybe the real problem here is that we Americans don’t have the right to speak into each others lives anymore. As friends we can’t speak the truth, we can’t get help for someone, because we’re not really neighbors anymore. Jesus said “love your enemies” instead of “love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” He also said that a Samaritan was a true neighbor to the Jew. In our culture we have no sense of neighbor or enemy. Neighbors live next door and enemies disappear when our government kills them. That’s all we think we need to know. That’s why we got problems.