In early modern Europe the infant mortality rate was astronomical. Crude medical practices led to a high casualty rate for mother and child alike. In many cases, new mothers would be forced to rely on lying-in-maids to handle maternal responsibilities, while they recovered from the exhausting and traumatic experience of child birth.
Lying-in-maids were generally post-menopausal widows, who were unable to mother children themselves. If new- born children were to become sick or die, grieving mothers, in some cases already afflicted with post partum depression, would look for some sort of explanation for why their child did not survive infancy.
In some cases, the dazed and depressed mother would come to a genius conclusion: the lying-in-maid was a witch. Accusations were launched against close family friends and next door neighbors … even the child’s grandmother could find herself burned at the stake if she did not make sure that baby survived until the mother could fulfill her maternal role. These infertile women could not use their feminine power to care for the infant, and instead chose to use sorcery to bring about harm. Apparently all one needs is a scapegoat to survive the grieving process.
America, however, is no different than these mourning mothers. Any major tragedy is immediately followed with a blame game of epic proportions. Calls for inquiries, hearings, firings and resignations are launched before words of condolence are even expressed. When we as a culture engage in this sort of “dialogue,” we take the event away from those who are affected by it, and try to center it around our own vanity. It is perhaps the most despicable thing about our culture; it’s even more revolting than a cult following of Paris Hilton. But still, everyone is chiming in on Virginia Tech.
The student activists are complaining that, “if it wasn’t for Charlton Heston or the ‘gun nuts,’ this would have never happened.” Can’t the explanation for such an event simply be an evil person doing an evil thing? Is it really Charlton Heston’s fault that some kid went crazy?
Campus police representatives say that “there was no indication of any possible motive.” Evil sounds like a pretty fair assessment of the situation. Nothing but pure evil could truly describe what Cho Seung-Hui did just four days before the eighth anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre.
Psychotherapists have called the murderer’s suicide note “disturbing.” “Evil” however, seems a more appropriate word. This is, after all, the same note that the 23-year-old South Korean before killing two people. This is the same note that he wrote before before reloading and taking away 30 more bright futures. In the note, he used the cliché suicide phrase, “you caused me to do this,” as if writing it down on paper would make it true. But no one caused him to do this; only pure evil can drive someone to do something so remarkably despicable and cowardly.
Various Virginia Tech students and their parents are calling for resignations and firings because their children could have been killed due to the inadequate response to the first vicious killing. These same people have not given a second thought to the actual victims or their families that did lose a child.
That idiot who lives in your hall is probably still telling that story about how “he almost went to Virginia Tech.” Whoa, that’s spooky you herb, some people actually go there; in fact, some people just got murdered there. You might have even seen it on the news. These self-centered malcontents try to do everything they can to make the tragedy about them.
The presidential candidates have begun explaining their positions concerning gun control and second amendment rights. At a time like this, it is disgusting to hear Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton (in her new Southern accent) discuss their stance toward gun control, just as it is repulsive to hear John McCain pander to the National Rifle Association. They are no better than Michael Moore, who is now drooling over the prospect of a sequel to Bowling for Columbine.
These brats and blamers only serve to shift the attention away from the tragedy that befell 32 students and professors, and instead make this horrifying event an impersonal political debate or personal tale. We have plenty of time to do that later.
For now, let’s put down those petitions advocating enhanced gun control or handgun-friendly campus buildings. Why don’t we raise money for the families of that coward’s tragic victims instead? Rather than telling the story about a kid you know who went to Virginia Tech, why don’t you sit down and think about that anonymous Hokie who was robbed of his future.
For now though, let’s think about the victims, their families and those that protect us.
Let’s think about Ryan Clark, one of the first two victims; he died trying to calm that murderous coward down.
Let’s think about the heroism of Prof. Liviu Librescu, who blocked his classroom door with his own body to give his students time to escape before suffering a fatal gunshot wound.
Be thankful that we, too, have professionals willing to protect our university and its students. Thank your R.A.; thank a CUPD officer; thank Robert Davis and Antwan Sampson for making sure you have a Cornell I.D. before entering the library. And thank God for giving us men and women that are here to make sure we never suffer a tragedy of this magnitude.
But most of all, think about the terror that all these victims must have experienced before meeting an untimely end.
Now tell me; do your anecdotes and agendas seem that important now?
Billy McMorris is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. John Manetta Once Told Me appears alternate Wednesdays.