Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Virginia Tech Tragedy

It's been two days since 32 students and faculty members were murdered by Cho Seung-Hui, the 23-year-old loner who once signed a class list of names with only a question mark. He left everyone behind asking a lot of questions.

I have a few of my own:

First, although we're tempted to call Cho names like sicko, insane, psycho, disturbed, freaky, bizarre, twisted (and frankly, we'd be right)--isn't there a danger in doing so? By calling Cho names, we put him in a box, brush our hands with the satisfaction that we're nothing like him, and move on. Calling him names allows us to dismiss him as a freak and close our eyes from examining how he developed into this monster.

DO NOT get me wrong. I am NOT sympathetic toward Cho. From all the reports coming out now it's clear that Cho had serious emotional and psychological problems.

And that brings me to my second question. THAT'S what we need to understand--HOW did he get this way?

As a parent, I took time today to ask my own questions. About my own sons. How are they doing? Am I being the kind of parent they need? Am I too lax? Am I too busy? Do I make time for them and their concerns? Do I really listen?

I'm doing pretty good, but I can do better.

Starting right now.

This post also appeared in The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA) on Tuesday, 4/24/07.