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Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Delusional Maniac

I made mention the other day of young boys men, like Cho Seung-Hui, who harbor fantasies of being badasses. In his case, a badass with guns. As the background information from the Virginia Tech investigation pours out, we are learning the disturbing details of his delusions. And I was reminded of an eerily similar depiction - from the movies - many years ago.

The movie was Taxi Driver.

Here's a plot summary of the movie from Tim Jones. Tell me this doesn't seem to be agonizingly similar to that which unfolded on Monday in Blacksburg:
Vietnam vet Travis Bickle is 26, a loner in the mean streets of New York City, slipping slowly into isolation and violent misanthropy. In solving his insomnia by driving a yellow cab on the night shift, he grows increasingly disgusted by the low-lifes that hang out at night: "Someday a real rain will come and wash all the scum off the streets." His touching attempts to woo Betsy, a Senator's campaign worker, turn sour when he takes her to a porn movie on their first date. He even fails in his attempt to persuade child prostitute Iris to desert her pimp and return to her parents and school. Driven to the edge by powerlessness, he buys four handguns and sets out to assassinate the Senator, heading for the infamy of a 'lone crazed gunman'... (link)
From this morning's New York Post:

Mad Killer's TV Hate Mail
By Jana Winter in Blacksburg, Va., and David K. Li and Hasani Gittens in New York

April 19, 2007 -- Virginia Tech killer Cho Seung-Hui took a break between murders to mail a chilling multimedia missive - which included videos explaining the twisted reasons why "I did it. I had to!" and dozens of snapshots of himself in hostile poses with guns.

In profanity-laced ramblings, Cho blamed everyone but himself for his sickening carnage.

"You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today," Cho sneered into the camera. "But you decided to spill my blood. You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision is yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off.

"When the time came, I did it. I had to!"

The madman took pity on himself, positioning him as the ultimate victim.

"Do you know what it feels like to be torched alive?" Cho asked. "Do you know what it feels like to be humiliated?" (link)

Watch the movie. See how the delusions of victimhood and martyrdom and revenge force Travis Bickle into acting out his fantasies in the most violent of ways. Then watch Cho's videotaped rant.

Original photos courtesy of the New York Times, NBC News, and IMDB

Avoiding The Real Problem

The real problem that manifested itself in the Tech Massacre has to do with dangerous, disturbed psychopaths being allowed to walk the streets with impunity. And to kill.

Why Was Cho Free?
New York Post editorial

April 19, 2007 -- Now comes news that a court in 2005 found Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung-Hui to be "mentally ill" and an "imminent danger to others" - but then let him go.

Anyone who doubts that the court's diagnosis was correct need only reference the video diatribe Cho mailed to NBC news, which aired the clip last night.

That Cho was free is an outrage.

But it's not exactly news that American courts regularly elevate abstract personal rights above those of the public.

Certainly, many questions remain in the the Virginia Tech massacre.

But it's not too soon to wonder why in hell Cho was left to wander freely after that sort of a court finding - and numerous other warnings as well. (emphasis in the original) (link)

I don't want to shift blame away from the madman, but the courts had the chance to lock Cho up in an institution, and decided instead to let him go. To let his delusions metastasize. To free him to prey on others.

Sadly, this is not an unusual circumstance in this our USA. There are thousands of Chos wandering our streets ... today.

It's Not Just a Local Story ...

... it's a local story:
Former Narrows High School standout slain at Virginia Tech
By Samantha Perry and Charles Owens, Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Narrows, Va. — The town of Narrows united at a memorial service Tuesday evening to honor one of their young residents who died as a result of injuries sustained in the shooting massacre at Virginia Tech.

Jarrett Lee Lane, 22, of Narrows, was one of 32 individuals killed during a rampage on the Blacksburg, Va., campus Monday morning by Virginia Tech senior Cho Seung-Hui. After killing two individuals at a dormitory and 30 others in an academic building two hours later, Hui fatally shot himself.

Lane, a senior civil engineering student at Tech, was remembered by family and friends for his exuberant personality.

“All of us are still deeply stunned and in shock over the loss of our son, grandson, and brother, Jarrett Lee Lane,” Lane’s family announced in a prepared statement. “He was a fun-loving young man, full of spirit. He had a caring heart and was a friend to everybody he met, both at Virginia Tech and here in Narrows. We are leaning on God’s grace in these trying hours and appreciate all the prayers, expressions of sympathy, and thoughts.

A 2003 graduate of Narrows High School, Lane was valedictorian of his graduating class. (link)
We didn't just lose our best and brightest in this horrific incident; we lost our best and brightest.

So sad.

A Prediction

It is being reported that the Virginia Tech psychopath who slaughtered 32 innocent people is seen in the video just released to the public by NBC News playing with 9mm hollow-point ammunition.

The left is, at this moment, seeking a way to make this a gun-rights-gone-awry issue. This despite the fact that the mass murderer seems to have met every gun purchase requirement the liberals have dreamt up over the years - not a small feat, even for a sane person.

But those hollow-point bullets. Expect the left to go after them now.

Massacre Rationale, Liberal Orientation

From the beanbrains over at the Charleston (WV) Gazette*:

When West Virginians voted on a right-to-bear-arms amendment in 1986, it passed overwhelmingly, 84 percent to 16 percent. The people’s sentiment was blazingly clear. No politician dares to stand against such lopsided odds.

Unwittingly, the Mountain State voters decreed, in effect, that it’s OK for someone like the Virginia Tech shooter to carry two pistols and a large supply of loaded clips.
It's not the fault of the citizens of Virginia after all. Nor is it the fault of this crazed psychopath. West Virginians did it.

* "Armed students?" Charleston Gazette, April 18, 2007

A Turning Point

The Supreme Court began making amends yesterday for a grievous wrong it had committed three decades ago:

In Reversal, Justices Back Ban on Method of Abortion
By Linda Greenhouse, The New York Times

Washington, April 18 — The Supreme Court reversed course on abortion on Wednesday, upholding the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in a 5-to-4 decision that promises to reframe the abortion debate and define the young Roberts court.

The decision, the first in which the court has upheld a ban on a specific method of abortion, means that doctors who perform the prohibited procedure may face criminal prosecution, fines and up to two years in prison. The federal law, enacted in 2003, had been blocked from taking effect by the lower court rulings that the Supreme Court overturned.

While the ruling will thus have a direct impact on only a relatively small subset of abortion practice, the decision has broader implications for abortion regulations generally, indicating a change in the court’s balancing of the various interests involved in the abortion debate. (link)

Here's why this is a big victory. For the first time in thirty years, the court recognizes its place in the American system of government (at least as far as the abortion issue is concerned).

This judgement isn't to be taken as a ruling that bans a particular (barbarous) abortion procedure so much as it is a ruling that signals a recognition that the elected representatives of the people of the USA have the right to make such decisions - not a handful of tottering old people on a court that is answerable to nobody.

Representative democracy has won one.

So, while the decision may be seen as being limited in application, it is expansive in its scope. The Court is going to relinquish control. We once again rule.