I have been having a very hard time wrapping my head around lots of things, lately - least of all the Virginia Tech shootings. There is so much I just don't understand - can't understand. So much pain and hurt - so much of the ugliest side of life - and yet so much hope and beauty. Professor Liviu Librescu - a 76 year-old survivor of the Holocaust - put himself in front of the door while urging his students to flee, and was fatally shot in the process. And I know he is not the only professor, the only teacher, the only father - the only human who would do that to save others. Students who had been shot but were still mobile helped classmates with more serious injuries and blocked the door when the shooter tried to return. And the images of the candlelight vigil made me want to cry - here I am on the bike or the treadmill or whatever I was on at the rec center, watching the news, on the verge of tears.
It still seems very surreal, and my heart aches for all the families and the friends and students and colleagues of all the victims. And this includes the parents and family of Cho. To them, this was their SON - not a shooter, not a killer, not anyone or anything other than their son.
And it is this consideration that really has sent me over the top with regards to the media. I was irritated by the way reporters were badgering those involved - students and professors and police. I was rather appalled by some of the questions being asked (along the lines of 'you were only shot in the arm. Were there others that were more critically wounded?' - and this was Monday afternoon as reporters infiltrated the hospital looking for interviewees). But the clincher came just a short while ago - I was getting into my jammies, and Lonnie had the news on, and I heard this newsreporter and one of the "expert" guests discussing that this individual - this "shooter" - was completely cognizant of what he was doing, and the newsman referred to Cho as an "evil man."
Whoa! What??? An "evil" man, committing a pre-meditated massacre... where do you come off saying this!?! I do not agree with what he did, I do not understand where he was coming from - why he would resort to this - 'cause, as pissed as I've gotten at people, and as jaded I might have been with the world, I've NEVER wanted to hurt someone, much less kill them. And, yes, it was pre-meditated. I won't argue. But I also don't agree that (a) Cho is/was "evil," nor (b) he was necessarily aware of what he was doing. Like I said, it makes me feel sick to think about, but, at the same time, there is a difference between knowing what you are doing, and being aware of what you are doing, including considering all the contributing factors and your motivations and the consequences of your actions. Cho made very poor choices, and his actions are no less repugnant, but c'mon - "evil?" The act may have been, but can we call him "evil" - a man no one really knows anything about? And can you imagine how it would feel as a parent watching this? What must be going through their minds?
So, again, my heart is with those connected to the victims. I feel sick, and I ache, and I don't understand - I cannot even begin to express the turmoil. But I also think the media at large - and I apologize for generalizing in such a manner - I try to avoid making gross generalizations - but I think the media needs to be a little more aware of what they are communicating and how they are communicating...we all do.