In the coming days, as more information comes out about the shooter, I think we will get a glimpse of how a human being can be plagued and tortured by pure evil.  The only good that could possibly come out of the examination of this unimagineable horror is that we may learn something about how to prevent the next one.  How many sleepless nights will college students have over the coming weeks and months, thinking that what happened at Virginia Tech could happen at their school, too.  How would you know that someone living in your dorm, or in your suite for that matter, might not be capable of the same thing? 

In the over-abundance of commentary that is pouring out of the media, off the internet, and in conversations around water coolers and at coffee breaks everywhere, I have little to add.  What I would like to say is how impressed I have been with the character of the Virginia Tech and Blacksburg community in the wake of this tragedy.  The students that have appeared in interviews have been bright and articulate, and have represented their university very well.  Their responses, even to the media cliches and silly questions, have appeared to be well thought out and intelligent.  I’ve been particularly impressed with the sense of community and the spirit that has been exhibited. 

Perhaps the larger tragedy in this whole situation is that, had he been willing to reach out, and attempt to make a connection, this young asassin would have found himself in the middle of a warm, caring community that obviously respects diversity and reflects values. 

I’d have been proud to have attended Virginia Tech, and I’d certainly be happy if my own kids had decided to go there.


About LS

I'm 56, happily married for 25 years, B.A., M.A., career educator with experience in education as a teacher and administrator, native Arizonan living in Pennsylvania, working on a PhD and a big fan of the Arizona Wildcats, mainly in football and basketball.

7 responses

  1. Francoise says:

    Pure evil? I think not. I have had a lot of experience with psychiatric patients, and would venture that the young man was both paranoid and psychotic, possibly schizophrenic. He likened himself to Jesus- a common enough delusion.

    Mental illness is not an “evil” – it’s something quite beyond the control of the sufferer. Be thankful if you’ve never suffered this terrible malady.

    The danger signs had previously been noted- what was done about them?

  2. lees1975 says:

    You’re right about the fact that the danger signs had been previously noted, and that when he was considered a danger to himself, he was released rather than hospitalized.

    I didn’t say that mental illness made someone evil, I said that it was an evil, and it is. Ask someone who has suffered from it, and they’ll likely not tell you it was a good thing. It’s pretty obvious from the package he left behind that this young man was tortured by it. Throughout history, human beings have associated mental illness with demon possession. Obviously, it isn’t actually that, but it leaves people who experience it with that impression. And it certainly leads some people to commit acts that are, in and of themselves, inherently evil.

  3. SLIMJIM says:

    what a tragedy, really…

  4. Francoise says:

    Jesus certainly believed that some maladies were caused by demons.

  5. lees1975 says:

    Jesus being who he was, didn’t have to just believe that some maladies were caused by demons. He had the spiritual insight and discernment to be certain of it.

  6. Francoise says:

    To me, that’s just superstitious twaddle, typical of the beliefs of the first century. No Christian that I know of would ever go to an exorcist if they have the flu, they go to a properly trained medico!

    I’m surprised that, if you believe in demonically-caused illnesses, that you don’t insist that medical students study exorcism.:)

  7. lees1975 says:

    According to the Biblical record, Jesus performed miracles of healing from physical ailments as well as exorcism, and was clearly able to tell the difference.