Freedom Of The Press Gone Wild

The blasting of demented killer Cho Seung-Hui ‘s death video and rants all over the airwaves are a big, big mistake. Right now, I bet there are sickos who have downloaded his images, lit candles in his memory, and are plotting the next horror.

Is this a case of freedom of the press gone wild? Is this really an example of protected speech?

Was it necessary to see the last venom-filled images of a killer before he he went on a killing rampage?

Will his "manifesto" be required reading for all future mass murders?

Exactly what good did it do to broadcast, re-broadcast, and re-broadcast again and again the chilling rants of a killer ?

Was there a person in the whole world that didn't know instantly that this guy was out of his mind one second after the news from Virginia Tech first broke?

In my view, balancing the necessity of free speech against the potential further catastrophes these images might evoke in the future leaves me to conclude that no one should have broadcast a single word or picture from this madman.

I believe in this case a statement should have been issued on the lines that evidence of the killer's motive for the killing were discovered but due to the graphic nature of the evidence they will be sequestered and released in a sanitized version in the future once the criminal component of the investigation has been completed.

With the shock still raw, with blood still on the floor of the engineering department at Virginia Tech, with youngsters killed and not yet buried, the showing of this madman's images accomplished nothing.

Imagine the impact that would have occurred on September 12,2001, as firefighters were still hauling out remains of those killed at ground zero if Bin Laden had released a video, replete with pistols and poster-quality images of him ranting the rant of jihad? I think every jihadist in the world would have been motivated to repeat the horror...but that some in a shocked nation would be pushed over the edge forever.

Right now, 22,000 students plus ten of thousands of family members, faculty members and scores of millions of Americans are trying to process this horror...and with the first shock wave of hatred still in the air of the campus, number two comes along...aided by a greedy media.

While it looks to me that many serious errors were made by Virginia Tech administrators in failing to get this lunatic in an insane asylum, the broadcast of this guy's rants are equally as egregious.


Posted by Sicilian Eagle at April 19, 2007 7:43 AM
Comments
Comment #217494

SE,

This must be a first. I actually agree with you.

I haven’t seen these videos yet and I don’t want to. Basically we have a precedent now that if someone kills a lot of people he gets a platform to broadcast his demented message to the world.

It isn’t clear to me yet that VT could have done anything differently. You may remember Duke catching some heat for suspending (not even expelling) some guys who were indicted for rape?

Posted by: Woody Mena at April 19, 2007 8:19 AM
Comment #217495

Sicilian Eagle,

While I agree that there is a feeding frenzy of news outlets to disseminate the smallest iota of detail about a sensational event such as this, and everyone should be aware that this kind of nihilistic vision is primed for copycat nutcases I think there is value in understanding what happened and why.

Being a news junkie myself, I want to know.

I’m not quite sure I follow your argument about Bin Laden..he did release several propoganda videos..perhaps not on 9-12, but why does a month or even six make a difference?

If the discussion leads us to understand the way the mental healthcare system is dysfunctional, the more the better.

Posted by: gergle at April 19, 2007 8:22 AM
Comment #217498

Exactly what good did it do to broadcast, re-broadcast, and re-broadcast again and again the chilling rants of a killer ?

Ratings. I think the good old-fashioned capitalist profit motive is at work here.

Posted by: bobo at April 19, 2007 8:53 AM
Comment #217500

I also agree with you. This stuff would have gotten out eventually, but relegating it to world on the National Enquirer is where it belongs, not on family oriented shows like the Today show. Yes, I agree the news people have gone over the top.

Posted by: JohnBoy at April 19, 2007 9:16 AM
Comment #217505

JohnBoy,
Given how much this society idolizes violence, don’t blame the “news people.” Violence sells. They are giving the viewers what they want to see

Posted by: bobo at April 19, 2007 9:34 AM
Comment #217506

Gergle

The Bid Laden tapes were grainy and released several weeks after 9/11. This guy’s stuff was almost state of the art. The photos of himself were beyond chilling.

If OBL’s propaganda machine has unleashed state of the art stuff back then instead of grainy videos,their movement would have been jump started,and America’s still roiled by the shock of 9/11, would have been that much set back.

That is the point I was trying to make.

Woody

The more interesting issue is free speech and the parameters now set in place. Not all speech is protected; obscene speech,and “fighting words” are two that come to mind.

The more interesting balancing test, I think is the test between influencing more potential deadly acts versus free speech. That is the nub that I find interesting. What the MSM did,however, I find repulsive.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at April 19, 2007 9:38 AM
Comment #217508

SE,

Exactly what good did it do to broadcast, re-broadcast, and re-broadcast again and again the chilling rants of a killer ?

Business.
Everything today is view in the prism of business.
Stop being naive and wake up.

Welcome to the real world, where ethic have a price tag too.


Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 19, 2007 9:50 AM
Comment #217511
Was there a person in the whole world that didn’t know instantly that this guy was out of his mind one second after the news from Virginia Tech first broke?

I really hope there is. Otherwise, what’s the purpose of investigate it?

Like many, I wasn’t surprise when we learn shortly after that he was known to be mentaly unstable. But the reality of events are not always what we think at first what they were.
That’s why we *always* investigate homicide(s).
Because without doing it, without searching the truth, with the limited data at first one could also think he killed 32 people in self-defense before being “suicided” by someone, for example.

You can always tell another story from the same few limited piece of “news”.

I’m not saying I believe in another explaination like the one above, I’m saying we should *always* search truth, and never blindly *jump* on one, even if it’s the most obvious one.
By “we” I mean the legal people.
We as the mass will continue to do it at will, and sometimes we’ll be plain wrong to do it. Not this time. But it’s not a reason to be lazy everytime.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 19, 2007 10:04 AM
Comment #217513

Phillipe Hudoin

I am troubled by you post; the issue here is limits, from an American defination of free speech, and nothing else.

From a business view,sex has always sold…as has violence. However, in this case….. of national importance….. (the eyes of America have been glued to the tube for 3 days now)…an arguement can be made for censorship in a very very narrow and defined perspective.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at April 19, 2007 10:07 AM
Comment #217515

bobo,

Given how much this society idolizes violence, don’t blame the “news people.” Violence sells. They are giving the viewers what they want to see

While I agree with you, I think SE advocate to remove the crude reality from it. Before, you need to sanitize a bit the horror. And he have a point, as fake violence sells, the real one don’t, as nobody could stand real horror very long.

Or the violence in Bagdad yesterday (well, everyday in fact) will be broadcasted all over as well.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 19, 2007 10:11 AM
Comment #217517
the eyes of America have been glued to the tube for 3 days now

I disagree.
Americans are gluing there eyes to the tube for 3 days. But they didn’t lost their free will.
They could chose to turn off the TV. The rating dropping, news wil have moved on. Instead, they chose to watch, again and again.

Free market works. Enjoy the magic.
Who are you to regulate it!??

(Yeah, I’m a bit sarcastic these few days).

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 19, 2007 10:17 AM
Comment #217526

If the network does stupid things like this for profit, we have the opportunity to let them know how stupid it is… turn off their programs, don’t tune in to NBC for the next month. Then send them notice that you are not watching. You can also send notice to their advertisers. They will apologize profusely and amend their ways.

People, you have the power to change the way the media reports if you have the gumption to do so. I wouldn’t recommend this for political reasons, only for moral reasons. Last year one network pulled an indecent and degrading show after only one week when the people stood up and said “No!”

Airing ANY of this madman’s video was a stupid choice (not a “mistake”) on the part of NBC. They should be chastised. Their licensing should be reviewed. They should receive fines. It was stupid. It was insensitive to the victims and their families. They should pay dearly for their choice.

Posted by: Don at April 19, 2007 10:40 AM
Comment #217527

Sicilian Eagle,

I’m not sure I get your state of art comment, but the “The photos of himself were beyond chilling.” statement is a little too much drama for me.


They do make an off button on the TV.

Posted by: gergle at April 19, 2007 10:42 AM
Comment #217542

What’s wrong with the American people gazing into the face of madness, hmm? Must we sanitize everything? I think the true danger is in not looking. When we refuse to look, when we stop wondering why, when we refuse to look within ourselves and question, then such acts become a cartoon-character version of reality, and a tool for ideologues and self-professed keepers of societal manners to burnish their versions of the ‘truth.’

There is much ambiguity, much that is unanswerable in life. But not looking, denying the darkness that is part of human existence, is not the answer. And, for good or ill, America’s ‘looking glass’ is television.

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 19, 2007 11:49 AM
Comment #217552
They do make an off button on the TV.

You mean on the remote, right?
Because, you know, TV is too far from couch…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 19, 2007 12:05 PM
Comment #217553

Tim Crow, I can’t agree more.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 19, 2007 12:06 PM
Comment #217555

I have to agree with SE (shock!). I think it was stupid to give this guy a platform. A clear description or a “sanitized” version of this wacko’s ramblings would have been enough.

If you really want to peruse that garbage, then ask the Virginia police for a copy. But giving this guy a public platform… that’s exactly why he killed all those kids. It’s just wrong.

Broadcasting that crap was irresponsible and it probably will inspire more mass killings by other wackos who want their “manifestos” broadcast coast-to-coast.

Posted by: American Pundit at April 19, 2007 12:11 PM
Comment #217556

Tim Crow, very eloquently said.
Perhaps needless to say, I absolutely agree.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 19, 2007 12:11 PM
Comment #217561

Instead of Freedom Of The Press Gone Wild the topic should be Right to Bear Arms Gone Wild

Posted by: bobo at April 19, 2007 12:22 PM
Comment #217573

Another vote in affirmation of Tim’s post. I would add that when we stop looking, we also stop learning.

What’s wrong with the American people gazing into the face of madness, hmm?…When we refuse to look, when we stop wondering why, when we refuse to look within ourselves and question, then such acts become a cartoon-character version of reality, and a tool for ideologues and self-professed keepers of societal manners to burnish their versions of the ‘truth.’

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at April 19, 2007 12:40 PM
Comment #217582

Tim Crow

Nicely said. Your statement precisely and as Adrienne says, eloquently echoes my thoughts.

Posted by: ILdem at April 19, 2007 12:59 PM
Comment #217586

Ditto to all the posts supporting Tim Crow’s post!!

Posted by: womanmarine at April 19, 2007 1:14 PM
Comment #217589

Total crap. If we shouldn’t be aware of every little imaginable detail about this whacko’s life, including a self-serving video towards the end of it, then what else should we deny from the world’s body of knowledge? “Son of Sam” info perhaps? How about that puke who blew up the building in Oklahoma? Oh crap let’s hide all available info about the Unabomber!!! And let’s not forget the Great Granddaddy of evil: Hilter. Yeah let’s purge the world of all knowledge of Hitler just in case some whack job decides to idolize his memory.

Total crap. Much better to allow students to carry concealed firearms on campus and to publicize THAT along with all other information known to man. The next whacko that idolizes this particular loser will then be in a position to realize he/she simply won’t be able to be as successful because after a shot or two the rest of the class/campus will take him out.

Posted by: EdB at April 19, 2007 1:24 PM
Comment #217591

Tim Crow and EdB,

I think we can find some middle ground between completely ignoring humanity’s dark side and giving a pulpit to every psycho with a pistol. We’re reaching a point where these atrocities are almost an interactive event. The next shooter will probably have American Idol-style voting to see who goes next.

Check out the movie “Network” sometime to see what I mean. A classic that seems more prophetic all of the time.

Personally, I refuse to watch the Dickless Wonder’s video on principle. He does not deserve the space in my brain. If someone wants to enlighten me, they can making an interesting movie or write a book.

Posted by: Woody Mena at April 19, 2007 1:37 PM
Comment #217592

I’m a casual reader of this blog and have never posted, but I feel compelled to add my thoughts here. I attended Virginia Tech in the early 90s and obviously this tragedy has caused me much shock, sadness, and anger.

While I, too, am disappointed at NBC’s decision to air even a portion of this footage, I must admit that I cannot help myself from wanting to see it. I don’t know why… I just feel the need to learn as much as I can about why someone could and would do such a horrible thing. I do not think NBC did anything that any of the other networks would have done, but I would have preferred that they delayed the public release of it.

What disturbs and angers me more is the MSM apparent desire to raise public criticism over how the University handled the initial events on Monday. While it’s easy to find a few people who cry foul out of either anger or ignorance, the overwhelming majority in the VT community support the University’s actions as evidenced in part by the standing ovation VT President Charles Steger received at the memorial service on Tuesday. You wouldn’t know it by watching the news, though.

We’ve seen this from the MSM time and time again — stirring controversy where controversy should not and often does not exist. Its irresponsible journalism designed to drive ratings.

Posted by: Dwayne in Virginia at April 19, 2007 1:39 PM
Comment #217594

SE,
The media thrives on sleaze. And those pictures are about as sleazy as ya can get without going X rated. And the dip shit media would run that trash if they thought they could get by with it.
They think because they’re the media that they can do anything in the so called name of news reproting and get by with it. And the sad thing is they are.
I’m completely against government censorship. But I’m all for public censorship. If the public would stop watching the networks that use that kind of crap and call it news, the networks would clean up their acts so fast ya would recognize them.

Posted by: Ron Brown at April 19, 2007 1:42 PM
Comment #217597

Well Tim, add another attaboy. And SE…another first for you, too, being in agreement with your post. I think there is little wrong with giving us the opportunity to look insanity in the face and remember the horrifying results (in this instance). For me, watching a 60 second clip was enough, so my choice after that was to ignore the repetition.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at April 19, 2007 1:45 PM
Comment #217606

SE:

First Amendment free speech does NOT also confer upon anybody the right to have that speech broadcast. I’m with you 100% of the way on this one. Even the ACLU should concur that this is nothing to do with the First Amendment, and everything to do with an out-of-control media frenzy. Sickens me. Good post.

Posted by: Jon Rice at April 19, 2007 2:16 PM
Comment #217609

Bobo

As you know I have been a defender of the Second Amendment for a while. And I still believe in it,to tell you the truth. However,it took this demented individual exactly 10 minutes to get clearance from the gun dealer. It takes me 20 minutes when I get Chinese take-out. It takes me 10 minutes at the Stop and Shop check-out. It takes me 10 minutes to do many.many things…but it shouldn’t take 10 minutes to get clearance for a gun. Something is wrong with the picture.
America has 330 million people holding 250 million guns according to Bill O’Reilly last night.How many more sickos have legitimate firearms permits right this second that with a delayed clearance process of say 10 days would be caught as unacceptable? Many,I think.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at April 19, 2007 2:25 PM
Comment #217610

OK let me make sure I’m clear on all this. Guns don’t kill, people do. So don’t ban guns.

However, media images do kill not the killers so lets limit free speech.

Also free market capitalism is best except when I don’t like the product in which cases it should be banned.

Hum….I’d say back to the ideological drawing board for you SE. You’re all over the map and not on any one road.

Posted by: muirgeo at April 19, 2007 2:28 PM
Comment #217612

Muirgeo

Let me clarify:

Sick people who get guns when they shouldn’t kill.

Media images may provoke other sickos to kill if they conclude that their message will be broadcast thousands of times.

Free market capitalism needs limits. Selling cocaine on Homeshopping network,for example,or better still,placing a simple ad to buy cocaine during the Superbowl shouldn’t be allowed either.

Don’t need to go back to the drawing boards at all.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at April 19, 2007 2:35 PM
Comment #217617

Processing Dealers Registration Of Sale (DROS)forms was part of what I did while working at the DOJ’s office in California. For each purchase, one of these documents was generated, with many questions and much information recorded. Of course, any detailed information re: health or medical data either couldn’t be asked, or sidestepped by the purchaser. At the end of each day, all gun sales, hand and long guns, were forwarded to us to do a State search for criminal offenses that would prevent delivery of the gun to the purchaser, and then all information was forwarded to the FBI as well. There was a 10 day waiting period, which allowed this search process to take place, but in addition to that, the 10 days sometimes had the effect of a cooling off period that perhaps diffused a potential situation like what happened at VT. The downside of all the rules and regulations we might want to put into effect is that “we” can always get a gun, from someone, someway, or somehow !!! Here the old cliche applies….: “if we outlaw guns, then only outlaws will have guns.”
Sorry for getting a little off the main topic, but was kind of following SE’s next to the last comment.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at April 19, 2007 2:46 PM
Comment #217634

So… when we watch enough of it … and it is overplayed to the point that we are no longer interested - due to being desensitized - those who are inspired by the massive coverage, and the ability to become infamous, will no longer kill.
Is that how it works?

Posted by: Dawn at April 19, 2007 3:40 PM
Comment #217635

SicilianEagle,

I agree. This is fuel for all those hearing voices and wanting glory.
Gun availability + delusional youth + media coverage(constant and round the clock)= recipe for disaster.
Good post.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at April 19, 2007 3:48 PM
Comment #217639

This is why these things are happening:

Va. Tech shooter was laughed at

This is the kind of societal thing that we need to teach our children. It is about respecting others and their differences, and how we manage anger and teach our children to manage anger.

Society needs to see what bullying and disrespecting people does. And those that get desensitized, probably weren’t sensitized in the first place.

We need to take an honest look at ourselves and how we raise our children.

Posted by: womanmarine at April 19, 2007 3:55 PM
Comment #217647

Not everyone who is laughed at turns into a mass murderer. I don’t believe this is an issue of significant parental failure.

Nor can we institutionalize everyone who acts different enough that they scare us. I don’t believe this is an incident of our mental health care system failing significantly.

Nor can we deny the right to purchase arms to everyone. I don’t believe this a failure of adequate gun contols.

Nor can we deny the press the right of free speech or their pandering to an audience that eats this crap up. I really don’t believe this is a failure of the first amendment.

It’s all these pieces. And, yet, this tragedy would probably have happened if even everything except the mental illness were removed. We can’t turn back the clock and erase Columbine from the collective memories of our culture.

Finally, I don’t see a solution without turning further into a police state. The best we can do is learn, mourn, and mitigate.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at April 19, 2007 4:31 PM
Comment #217652

womanmarine, your point is right on, too. That doesn’t mean that the other ideas on here are not valid, though. As diverse as we are in this country, we have maintained a tolerance for difference for a long time, and of course, that isn’t a bad thing. IMO, our current standing in the world, and with all our “enemies” chomping at the bit to get a piece of us, our tolerance and leniency towards other cultures and those of differing appearance has waned greatly. If those trying to merge into our culture seem reluctant to adapt and adjust, that makes their acceptance even more challenging. What I would like to know is (and maybe this info came after my 60 second window period ended) how the parents figure in this? Yes, he was an adult and by virtue of that, didn’t have to share any medical diagnoses or existing conditions. But wouldn’t we think that they could tell in some way, that his actions and moods may be a bit “strange” ??? Or maybe does their culture and background not consider that?
Sorry….appears that I’ve gotten sidetracked again….my mind isn’t big enuff to leave out on its’ own for long… :)

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at April 19, 2007 4:58 PM
Comment #217653
Not everyone who is laughed at turns into a mass murderer

No one suggested that was the case. But it seems to be becoming a thread throughout these cases, they were picked on, laughed at, lacked adequate support/help. We shouldn’t ignore this. Not parents, not teachers, not anyone!!

Sandra:

Depends on what you mean by strange. Do we refer everyone that someone thinks is strange for mental health counseling? Is it required that they go?

Having worked in the field, I know how hard it can be to determine that a person is an imminent threat by the professionals. What do we expect teachers and students to be able to do? Or the school for that matter?

We need to help prevent this through more understanding, more tolerance, and I don’t buy the “children are cruel” argument, as if that is acceptable behavior. It isn’t. Will it prevent these things? No. Will anything? No. No more than we can prevent terrorism. But we can lessen perhaps the number of folks pushed to the breaking point, and we can take the stigma away from mental health.

How many of these school shootings were because the perpetrators were or perceived themselves to be bullied? Think about that. Same could be said for some of the employee shootings, like “going postal”.

Posted by: womanmarine at April 19, 2007 5:09 PM
Comment #217657

Getting laughed at and picked on when you’re a kid (as well as laughing at and picking on other kids) is part of growing up. It happens to everybody, and within limits, it’s actually a normal part of socialization.

The United States if filled with formerly dorky kids who never fit in, got picked on and teased mercilessly… and then grew up to became succesful artists, make millions of dollars in the computer industry, or simply become good citizens.

When things get at out of hand, as they very often do, it’s the responsibility of adults to step in.

Unfortunately, however, the very culture of agrieved victimhood and entitlement we encourage in this country teaches people—even those with terrific opportunites—that “society” is to blame for all of their frustrations and personal failings. On one hand, we tie the hands of our schools when it comes to punishing disruptive students, including bullies, and on the other hand we expect schools to take care of problems that parents refuse are unable to deal with themselves.

Here we had a kid who was obviously mentally ill and not receiving the attention he needed. But he was also somebody with every opportunity to get a good education and make something of himself, and while he was railing about “spoiled rich kids,” he himself apparently had the means to buy all kinds of hi-tech toys, not to mention the rather expensive weapons he used to carry out his murders. A victim? Only in his own deranged imagination.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at April 19, 2007 5:38 PM
Comment #217659

womanmarine, when I said strange behaviour, I was considering the parents’ possibly having noticed that. It seems that he did have a history of “mental” or behavioural problems, and a number of sources brought them to light along with concerns because of them.
I’m not disagreeing with things that should be, or plans that should be implemented….nor do I think a lot of the others writing on here are. It’s pretty easy to define a problem, suggest ways to correct it, but putting it into effect is where the stumbling blocks always are.
I don’t normally disagree with you, but I do on this ….

We need to help prevent this through more understanding, more tolerance, and I don’t buy the “children are cruel” argument, as if that is acceptable behavior.

I do believe children are cruel…very cruel in some ways, but I do believe they learn by what they live with. If left without any external pressures or even by absorbing through every day life…actions of others, TV,adult conversations, etc., they would be extremely tolerant of differences. It’s just the nature of them. I do agree that it is NOT acceptable for them to be that way.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at April 19, 2007 5:43 PM
Comment #217661

We can point at guns, both for and against, but if he had been denied that, he might have gone somewhere with a knife, borrowed, or stolen the weapon.

We can point at the media, but how many millions of people view violence, school shootings and other stuff and never act out?

Easy availability of guns is a problem, and there are legitimate concerns about violence in our media, but we have to consider that sometimes there’s just nothing we can do about it.

As for showing his video? Haven’t seen it myself, not really planning to, but the folks like this who would emulate such behavior already have a few screws loose anyways, and there’s no guarantee you could ever really know what will inspire somebody whose thinking is that disorganized, whose value judgments are that far off. I’ve seen some nasty stuff on the internet concerning violence, about what bombs and bullets do to people, and I can say it makes me less enchanted with it than I would otherwise.

For some people, the sanitizing of violence makes it easier to emulate. For others, when they encounter it, it’s positively revolting.

I think, even if we’re not going to show blood and guts outright, we’d be well advise to start looking at violence as more than just flashy visuals. Hell, and it wouldn’t be that bad, because you can build conflict on that sense of consequences.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 19, 2007 5:50 PM
Comment #217662

I really need to emend that last statement….. I believe that children CAN BE cruel….not that they are normally….. sorry.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at April 19, 2007 5:55 PM
Comment #217663

All in all, my sense is that we should trust the judgment of adults in this country. I don’t advocate showing all this when children might be watching, but I do think we should let our children know that violence has consequences.

I remember as a boy having a black eye for quite some time after one kid hit me, and realizing then and there that there was something false about the notion that people could get into knockdown, drag-out fights and show up the next day with not a mark on their face. Violence needs to be understood for what it is.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 19, 2007 5:56 PM
Comment #217669

Stephen:

“…there was something false about the notion that people could get into knockdown, drag-out fights and show up the next day with not a mark on their face. Violence needs to be understood for what it is.”

Now, if only foreign policy ‘experts’ could wrap their heads around such a concept….


Posted by: Tim Crow at April 19, 2007 6:19 PM
Comment #217671

How many of you were picked on?

Did it help make you stronger, weaker, a murdering psycopath, or hardly have an affect?
Most of us teach our children not to call names or bully.
BUT-
we turn on the news or talk shows and what do we see?
Adults acting like the children we tell them not to be.

Posted by: Dawn at April 19, 2007 6:26 PM
Comment #217675

SE,

However,it took this demented individual exactly 10 minutes to get clearance from the gun dealer. It takes me 20 minutes when I get Chinese take-out. It takes me 10 minutes at the Stop and Shop check-out. It takes me 10 minutes to do many.many things…but it shouldn’t take 10 minutes to get clearance for a gun. Something is wrong with the picture. America has 330 million people holding 250 million guns according to Bill O’Reilly last night.How many more sickos have legitimate firearms permits right this second that with a delayed clearance process of say 10 days would be caught as unacceptable? Many,I think.


Oh my. What happened to me (or is you? ;-) ):
I. Agree. With. You.

muirgeo,

OK let me make sure I’m clear on all this. Guns don’t kill, people do. So don’t ban guns.

So your logic is to ban people who kill?
Then rejoice, as this guy is banned forever, problem solved.
Or did I miss something in your logic?

However, media images do kill not the killers so lets limit free speech.

OK let me make sure I’m clear on all this. Media images don’t kill, people do. So don’t ban media images.
By your own logic.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 19, 2007 6:33 PM
Comment #217677

Dawn,

we turn on the news or talk shows and what do we see? Adults acting like the children we tell them not to be.

Even a kid of 3 knows how to turn off a tv. So there is still hope for adults that one day they will, too.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 19, 2007 6:38 PM
Comment #217678

Mr. Cho committed the crime because he was evil.

I am waiting for any report of what prescription drugs he was taking. Usually there is a pattern for some drugs to show up consistently. One of the drugs used more than some others is Nortriptalyne.

Posted by: tomh at April 19, 2007 6:39 PM
Comment #217680

Dawn:
“How many of you were picked on?”

I was unmercifully picked on for years in school. All because I was a middle class kid surrounded by a bunch of spoiled American Brahmins. Until I learned to defend myself with wit and humor, it was pretty rough going. I still harbor a deep-seated loathing for old money types.

“Did it help make you stronger”

Yes. It made me more compassionate toward others, less prejudiced toward outcasts and more likely to defend them, more self-reliant, and less likely to be obsessed by what other people think of me.

“weaker”

Yes. It gave me too sharp a tongue on a hair trigger, and for that I apologize. :^)

“Most of us teach our children not to call names or bully.
BUT-
we turn on the news or talk shows and what do we see?
Adults acting like the children we tell them not to be.”

That is so true.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 19, 2007 6:53 PM
Comment #217682

BTW, I forgot to reply your question, Dawn :

How many of you were picked on? Did it help make you stronger, weaker, a murdering psycopath, or hardly have an affect?

I was. It make me self-centered during years.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 19, 2007 6:55 PM
Comment #217687

Thanks for clarifying SE. Your reply was spoken like a true progressive and WAS ideologically consistent. But next time you should use the liberal blog to post your thread. For a second I thought you were pushing a conservative agenda….my bad.

Muirgeo

Let me clarify:

Sick people who get guns when they shouldn’t kill.

Media …… may provoke …… if they ……. broadcast thousands of times.

Free market capitalism needs limits.
Don’t need to go back to the drawing boards at all.

Posted by: sicilianeagle

Posted by: muirgeo at April 19, 2007 7:29 PM
Comment #217718

These images were inevitable when the mainstream media realized in the 1960’s that the news was a profit center instead of a public service. We’ve been going down this path for years. This kind of stuff appears on TV for one simple reason.

Because enough of us watch it to make it profitable for the corporations that own the news media.

Posted by: ElliottBay at April 19, 2007 10:26 PM
Comment #217719

Sandra:

Grade school children don’t usually go on killing rampages. They would presumably have learned how not to be cruel by the time they reach high school or college, and even before.

Nobody is trying to excuse him or any of these perpetrators. I don’t think that we will ever stop this kind of behavior or instability completely. I’m trying to wrap my brain around what we as a society can do to lessen the incidence.

Sorry, but I’ve seen too many parents encourage cruelty, and it’s certainly encouraged in a lot of media.

Posted by: womanmarine at April 19, 2007 10:28 PM
Comment #217743

Thank you for the honest replies Phillipe & Adrienne.

‘Even a kid of 3 knows how to turn off a tv. So there is still hope for adults that one day they will, too.’

That same principle should have been applied to Imus but wasn’t, and, for some reason we parents are told - ‘turn the channel’ or ‘turn it off’ - if we don’t want our children to see something.
It isn’t all that simple….

There are things that all of our children see and hear that we need to explain. It happens everywhere they go.
People bring what should be their private lives out in public. Where’s the shame?
My 10 yr old has recently become quite interested in some of these news stories. The VA Tech shooting, any missing children, murdered children, on and on.
Her usual question is ‘Why did he/she do that?’

One of the main problems we are facing is that people are not being taught how to be strong. How to let things ‘roll off their shoulder’. How to see that the other person who is being mean is usually the one that needs a friend most.
Strength comes from experience, not from a therapist or a pill.
All therapists do not know how to help people turn a situation around to their advantage. Pills are not a cure all.
It makes absolutely no sense to me that someone grows up to molest children because they were molested as a child. The only way this makes sense is if they actually enjoyed it. If they didn’t why would they do it to someone else? If they hated it - it makes more sense that they would find a way to hurt the person who did it to them.
That shooter was supposed to have good grades? Did I hear that?
Why did he go to a school full of rich kids if he hated rich people? Why not community college? Where was the adult who should have told him that he is going to be someone someday because he was smart? Who ‘taught’ him to hate rich people? WAS he a muslim convert???
His own grandmother finished talking about him by saying ‘the idiot’. She knew he was troubled from a young age but never had any idea he would do what he did.

The school my girls go to has no tolerance rules & punishments for bullying and they ALSO teach the children being bullied coping mechanisms and ways to verbally stop the bully. ‘Kill them with kindness’ - it’s worth a try…
Depending on the situation they will not automatically punish the bully. They will be spoken to and warned if it isn’t physical. They bring in the parents and usually send the child to speak to a counselor. If it continues or gets worse the child is then given detention or suspension.
At the same time they make sure that the child being bullied understands that the adults are watching and they want them to feel safe.


‘Yes. It made me more compassionate toward others, less prejudiced toward outcasts and more likely to defend them, more self-reliant, and less likely to be obsessed by what other people think of me.’

Ditto.

‘Sorry, but I’ve seen too many parents encourage cruelty, and it’s certainly encouraged in a lot of media.’

So have I and yes it is.

Seems like the only time they tell a good story - it involves an animal. There aren’t any good people left? No. THEY say that that is what people want to see.
Personally I wanted to hear more about the guy that was killed in the dorm and the hero professor that died holding the door shut while his students jumped out the windows.
Those are stories of what a true american is. Instead the stories are about the murderer and what made him that way.


Posted by: Dawn at April 19, 2007 11:44 PM
Comment #217744

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, you do not want to give a guy like this the publicity he sought. On the other hand, when you see him, you realize he is just a pathetic angry weakling. On the third hand (yes three) it shows how meaningless the whole thing is if a guy like this can kill so many. On the forth hand, maybe we will pay more attention to weirdoes like him. Everybody knew he was nuts, but nobody could do anything about it. Too much respect for privacy and the rights of the nutty.

I read in the paper today that he could not legally buy a gun because of his mental condition, but nobody reported his mental condition to the authorities. That points to a big problem with gun control laws. We do not enforce the ones we have, but we think making them stricter will do the job. Every law needs to be enforced. This guy should have been put away. Why wasn’t he?

Posted by: Jack at April 19, 2007 11:53 PM
Comment #217750

Jack,

“I read in the paper today that he could not legally buy a gun because of his mental condition, but nobody reported his mental condition to the authorities. That points to a big problem with gun control laws.”

I don’t see it as a problem with the gun control laws as much as it is an example of man’s inhumanity to man.
Nobody around this guy gave a rat’s ass.
This guy was a train wreck waiting to happen. Everybody recognized it, yet did little to change the end of the story.
The girls he stalked didn’t press charges, his classmates saw his scripts, his teachers suggested counseling but didn’t follow up.

Koreans are a very proud people. In the same way a New Zealander doesn’t wish to be called an Australian, Koreans flame when they are called Chinese or Japanese.
The insults started when he was in high school, imagine the rage confined in this guy, and everybody knew it, yet did nothing.

I don’t blame the system, the system worked within the parameters, and the information it had to work with.
I blame everybody that sat idly by, watched as the rage grew out of control, and then allowed this to happen.

Posted by: Rocky at April 20, 2007 12:37 AM
Comment #217763
Too much respect for privacy and the rights of the nutty…Posted by: Jack at April 19, 2007 11:53 PM
Yup, screw the right to privacy and lock up everybody who looks a bit nutty. I’ll start with everyone who voted for Bush. Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at April 20, 2007 2:32 AM
Comment #217765

tomh,

Mr. Cho committed the crime because he was evil.

Oh. So there’s good news, then: evil, contrary to many supra-natural species, can be killed (or kill itself in that matter), by bullet(s), just like any vanilla human.
Hurray.

One second I’ve feared that we would have to view reality using full spectrum glasses. I’m glad the white and black, good and evil one still works fine.
What a relief, thanks.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 20, 2007 4:11 AM
Comment #217766
That points to a big problem with gun control laws. We do not enforce the ones we have, but we think making them stricter will do the job. Every law needs to be enforced. This guy should have been put away. Why wasn’t he?

Jack, I think you have answered your own question here, right?
Otherwise, it sounds so much like Jeopardy answers & question that I’m troubled.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 20, 2007 4:16 AM
Comment #217783
This guy should have been put away. Why wasn’t he?

This is easy to say in hindsight, Jack.

As far as I can tell, this guy didn’t do anything illegal. Writing scary stories? Taking people’s pictures? Being “annoying” to girls? All legal as far as I know.

Think about the Duke case again. They were accused of rape. Nobody even accused this guy of committing a crime. Talk about rushing to judgment! If people are innocent until proven guilty, wasn’t this guy the more innocent?

Posted by: Woody Mena at April 20, 2007 8:50 AM
Comment #217787

Dawn-
Abuse often creates a sense of alienation and anger in a person, and if they are familiar with the person, a sense that this was somehow, perversely, justified.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 20, 2007 9:26 AM
Comment #217811

Dawn:
“the other person who is being mean is usually the one that needs a friend most.”

Not always, Dawn. Some bullies have plenty of friends and will actually include them — to increase the bullying that gets dished out. From my own experience, what a bully is often lacking is either self esteem (picking on someone else makes them feel better about themselves by comparison — sometimes because of how they are being treated at home), or having no sense of morality (they actually enjoy hurting and humiliating others).

“That shooter was supposed to have good grades? Did I hear that?”

Plenty of nutters have been highly intelligent.

“Why did he go to a school full of rich kids if he hated rich people? Why not community college?”

Well, sometimes smart kids get to go to schools where others wouldn’t have the chance to go without a lot of money. He might have had a scholarship?

“Where was the adult who should have told him that he is going to be someone someday because he was smart?”

It might have been treated like an expectation? Constant parental pressure to achieve at the highest levels often leads to a lot of resentment.

“Who ‘taught’ him to hate rich people?”

The way that the rich act themselves can be reason enough to get thoroughly turned off — but of course that doesn’t become a reason to kill people unless you’re crazy.

“She knew he was troubled from a young age but never had any idea he would do what he did.”

I often wonder about people who know their kids have serious issues, but don’t do everything in their power to get them the help they need. I mean all teenagers can be sullen and unresponsive, but when they’re acting like that with everyone after the age of fifteen or sixteen, there’s probably something really wrong with a kid.

“The school my girls go to has no tolerance rules & punishments for bullying and they ALSO teach the children being bullied coping mechanisms and ways to verbally stop the bully. ‘Kill them with kindness’ - it’s worth a try…”

Being nice to the bullies didn’t work for me. Only cutting sarcasm and humor did the trick.

Woody:
“As far as I can tell, this guy didn’t do anything illegal. Writing scary stories? Taking people’s pictures? Being “annoying” to girls? All legal as far as I know.”

I can’t agree. One of his professors said that this kid was taking pictures of girls body parts in his classes. We also heard that he was stalking some girls. Both are nothing but anti-social behavior and intimidation.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 20, 2007 11:06 AM
Comment #217826

Adrienne,

The devil in the details. What was he actually doing to the these women? “Stalking” can cover a lot of things. Were any of them willing to press charges?

Photography is a tricky subject. I know that, in general, it is perfectly legal to photograph someone in a public place where there is no expectation of privacy. It is hard to craft a law that distinguishes between journalists and perverts.

I certainly don’t defend the guy’s pre-shooting behavior (or, needless to say, the shootings), but you have to be careful what kind of standards you use to deprive someone of their liberty. It sounds like he probably could have been expelled, but actually confinement is another issue. Go to any city park and you will see free-range weirdos.

Posted by: Woody Mena at April 20, 2007 12:58 PM
Comment #217904

Alberto Gonzalez, anyone? Anyone?

Posted by: mental wimp at April 20, 2007 7:26 PM
Comment #217947

SicilianEagle,

Regarding your question about eliminating or “redefining” freedom of speech, the answer is no. It’s simple, the first amendment. If you want the government to “protect” you from reality and make sure you aren’t allowed to see anything that offends someone, you can move to France. Bad ideas are exposed for what they are especially when they’re brought out into the open, not when they’re suppressed or given the legitimacy of censorship.

Beyond basic freedom of speech however, the truth is I don’t trust the people running our country to decide what should be censored and what shouldn’t. They simply don’t have anywhere near the benefit of the doubt to do even most simple things competently. If we had an honest, capable government, not run by either corporate interests or far-right extremism then maybe it would be a little different (although eventually it would become worse). However if we give Bush, the FCC, or some agency censorship powers it won’t be long until they start doing things purely for political reasons. Religious right leaders will start demanding content they say is “corruption America” to be banned, and Bush will say as always that any criticism of his policies is helping the terrorists. Newt Gingrich even said a while back that we need to reconsider freedom of speech. It’s a slippery slope.

The corporate media really is harming this country, but NOT because of it showing the obviously deranged video made by a mentally insane student. It’s its refusal to place the truth and journalistic integrity over ratings and appeasing its advertisers and maximizing profit. Congress should pass new, stronger limits on media consolidation and perhaps fund a (or a couple) independent or public outlets (like Britain’s BBC) which aren’t allowed to receive any private money, can’t be influenced by politicians, and don’t use advertising. And net neutrality laws guaranteeing internet freedom and protecting consumers from exploitation of the internet (the internet has been the best if not only solution for many looking for information unavailable in the mainstream media). These measures would help greatly without any laws restricting freedom of speech.

Posted by: mark at April 21, 2007 5:54 AM
Comment #218070

The shootings at VT were indeed tragic. The fact that the shooter committed suicide will not relieve the mourners. It actually brings me frustration that this could have been prevented. The shooter showed signs of mental instability in 2005. Why didn’t they lock him up or keep an eye on him? Or better yet: have him executed once there was proof that he was deemed harzardous to human life?

We may not be able to stop all of the killers or those that are a threat to life, but we can reduce the number just by taking time and reporting suspicions and ignore the rules of being PC.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at April 22, 2007 1:51 PM
Comment #218072
Or better yet: have him executed once there was proof that he was deemed harzardous to human life?

Holy Shit!! What proof was that again?

Posted by: womanmarine at April 22, 2007 2:11 PM
Comment #218279
Yup, screw the right to privacy and lock up everybody who looks a bit nutty. I’ll start with everyone who voted for Bush.

Agreed, we should get Pelosi, Cheney, and Ted while we are at it.

Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at April 24, 2007 3:39 PM
Comment #218429

Its the Virginia Tech Administrators for not getting him into an “insane asylum” and the press’s fault for broadcasting his insanity.

Newsflash: It was the guns. Guns killed those thirty two people.

Some people are nuts, there is not way to stop that. But you can stop them from getting there hands on guns.

Thirty two people are dead. How can you argue about anything other than gun control? Right its campus security that should be blamed.

Posted by: sassyathiest at April 25, 2007 4:21 PM
Comment #218550

“Newsflash: It was the guns. Guns killed those thirty two people.”

Technically the guns were a minor player.

If you want to blame anything other than Cho, I would blame the bullets. They caused the injuries that resulted in the deaths of those people.

Posted by: Rocky at April 26, 2007 9:06 PM
Comment #218822

I don’t get it. Why is it that you crazy cons are always ranting about your constitutional right to bear arms unrestricted, but are the first to attack the constitutional right to freedom of the press? I really don’t get it.

Posted by: Dr. Gnostic at April 30, 2007 3:15 PM
Comment #219260

I am disturbed by the public fascination (and the press indulgence) of Anna Nicole Smith’s death, her baby, the possible father and the events leeding up to it all.

Who gives a rat’s _ss about some white trash floozie and all the hype surrounding her rather pathetic run at life? It doesn’t do any good to show young kids a role modle of a promiscuous gold digger with a fatal drug habit and no sense of self control at all.

However, a free press is a press and that’s that. I may not like what is being published or being said, but I don’t have to listen to it either.

It is a different thing to say that it is somehow the fault of those who are excercise such freedom. That’s a silly assertion. It doesn’t matter. You cannot regulate in good judgement and taste and still have a free press or freedom of speach, either.

So all of this is moot. If we value the foundations of our country, our constitution and laws, then we must honor the excercise of those protected freedoms regardless of how irresponisible it seems to us to over dramatize the stories WE think should be played down.

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