Skip to main content

Blood in the Mind, Part 2

Now we know. The gunman was mentally ill. His creative writing teacher had notified all the authorities that she could. But, according to law, no one could take "action" until Cho Seung-Hui had threatened to harm someone. Not likely from a young man who did not even say hello when greeted by his classmates or neighbors. In fact, Cho Seung-Hui never said anything at all to his own college roommate. Remember dorm rooms? Those cubicles with bunk beds or some other arrangement that maximizes limited space? Can you imagine being in close quarters like that and never saying a word to the person with whom you shared them? He had not verbally threatened anyone, although his creative writing was full of violence and threatening content. But he had set fire to his dorm room earlier. Is that not considered threatening behavior?

There needs to be a way to address the dangers caused by mental illness before physical threats are made, before fires burn out of control. The law is the result of logical--and faulty, and ignorant--thinking. It assumes that a mentally ill person will threaten first, then act. That is not always the case. While we wait for laws to catch up with reality (it will be hard because there is so much "grey" area to consider), parents need to learn more about mental illness. How could this young man's parents have watched his behavior and not been militant about getting him help, including hospitalization? How could they have even thought he was stable enough to go to college?

And, gun control, it can no longer be denied, is an oxymoron in this country. There are 65 million hand guns in the US (these are just the registered ones). 11,500 people die from hand guns every year. It is the height of absurdity that in this country, where we cannot board an airplane with a bottle of water in our hands, that a resident alien with a history of mental illness can plunk down a credit card and walk out the door with a gun. The only criteria the shop owner had to adhere to was to be sure that his buyer had not committed a felony. Women cannot board a plane with a tube of lipstick on their person, but a resident alien, not a citizen, can buy a gun. And then murder 33 people.

But let's leave the US for just a moment. Let's turn our gaze to Iraq, where what happened at Virginia Tech happens EVERY SINGLE DAY AND NIGHT to innocent men, women, and children. As Larry Johnson says in his post at TPM Cafe, "This is horrible and this is tragic and it gives us an idea of what it is like to live just one day in Iraq."

Closet the guns. Stop the war. Pray for the families and friends who have lost someone they love, blasted by bullets, bloodied by steel, killed for no good reason at all. Tragedies like this one should make us see that there is no dividing line between political parties, countries, cultures, or classes. There is only one dividing line, the one that passes between good and evil. We may need to look twice to be sure which side of the line we are on.

Text and image, copyright 2007 Ysabel de la Rosa

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Life without Television, Part 2

I began life without television with relief, which was consistent Monday through Friday. The first few weekends, though, felt awkward, anxious, lonely. When PBS has good programming on Saturday nights, it is extraordinarily good. Father Brown, Phryne Fisher, New Tricks... Extraordinary acting, high production values, and I fantasize about the pudgy, brilliant priest just perhaps having an innocent crush on one of his special parishioners, which would be moi. 

I called a friend one Sunday. "Maybe television helped with my anxiety more than I realized," I said. She told me about her aunt who, after her husband's death, kept the television on in his "man cave" 24/7. He has been gone years now. The television goes on, everlasting, in his absence. I don't blame her. Much of my frequent and prolonged television viewing began with grief.

After my sister died, I would watch almost anything, especially late at night when sleep eluded me. I even watched Convoy with …

Our Texas, My Texas: "Memories we carry like scars and diamonds"

This post title includes a quote from Hermine Pinson's poem, "Four Sisters and the Dance." As you read, it will become clear why.

I was 7 when my father earned his Ph.D. from Duke. He then accepted a teaching position at a small private college in a rural Texas town in the 1960s. Population was 5,000, give or take a few. Our Texas roots ran deep, and we saw this return to the Lone Star State as a homecoming. So, I left the lyrical landscape of the Carolinas and the small private school where I had become nearly fluent in French. Then, I entered the hot, dry world of that small town. 

We did not yet have a place to live. Our family of five, including our infant brother, camped out in the girls' dorm for several weeks. Our furniture was stored on the university theater stage while my parents searched for a home. I was riding in the car with my dad and a member of the university administration and overheard their conversation. My father wondered where he could find help …

Thank you, Press Women!

My blog won first place in personal blog writing for 2014 in the Press Women of Texas's Communications Contest. Afterward, my blog placed second in personal blog writing nationwide in the National Federation of Press Women's Communications Contest. I can't adequately tell you what these awards mean to me, but I feel impelled to try.
From the NFPW website:
On May 6, 1937, 39 women from seven states gathered at the Chicago Women's Club to turn their vision into reality. They formed the National Federation of Presswomen (yes, then it was one word) and set forth their goals: "To provide a means of communication between woman writers nationally; make possible the expression of a common voice in matters of national interest to press women, and otherwise advance the professional standards of press women."

It was brave enough for women to found such an organization in any decade prior to 1970, but this group was founded at the height of the Great Depression. It grew to …