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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Haunting Similarity

A Korean-American student at Virginia Tech, one with emotional problems that campus administrators were (allegedly) well aware of and that friends were deeply concerned about, grabs a gun and starts killing.

Seung-hui Cho on April 16, 2007?

No. Daniel Sun Kim, less than three weeks ago. The death toll? One.

From Collegiate Times, the Virginia Tech student newspaper:
Tech student found dead in vehicle
By Ashley Oliver, Collegiate Times associate news editor

A Virginia Tech student was found dead in his car in the parking lot of the Christiansburg Target on Sunday, Dec. 9.

Junior math major Daniel Sun Kim suffered a single gunshot wound to the head, the cause of which both the medical examiner and the Christiansburg Police Department suspect to be suicide.

In early November, Tech received an e-mail from a person claiming to be Kim's friend, the content of with (sic) contained a concern about Kim possibly having a gun, and being a potential danger to himself or others.

The e-mail was directed to the university's Care Team, a group of officials whose responsibility is to meet weekly and discuss individual troubled students, and appropriate courses of action. (link)
Out of deference to the family of the troubled youth, I would have avoided posting this bit of news. But the family of the slain student has spoken out.

From one Jeannette Kim, who claims to be Daniel's sister, writing in the COMMENTS section trailing the article (I've made no alterations to the text-messaging style, punctuation and grammar used):

let me introduce myself... i am daniel's sister. he was my only brother and he left me on december 9th. to the person who posted on december 25th ("what was tech supposed to do? lock this kid up..."): do you even understand how i might be feeling right now? how my family might be feeling? when we had absolutely NO IDEA about any of this when tech knew all along? they received TWO to THREE warnings about my brother's depression and his suicidal thoughts but they failed to do anything about it. the least they could have done was called US, his FAMILY, and told us about it so that we could have brought him home. their first mistake was not even informing us and letting us find out in this way... with his death. it wasn't a random tip - they were both sent from his friends. HIS FRIENDS. that's not a random tip. they each said to tech "i have a friend at tech who is extremely depressed and suicidal and i am very worried about him." the email that was sent to tech's health center had some disturbing information, a direct quote what my brother said about committing suicide. that is something that you don't take lightly or as a joke. have you ever experienced going through something like this? having your own brother or your own sister, someone who's looked over you for as long as you've been alive, take their own life? HAVE YOU? if you haven't, please don't even say anything. IF it is for the benefit of the student to have their family be notified THEN tech should not even have to worry about getting sued. if anything the family would be grateful towards the school. IF tech continues to take action in this way then they should expect more problems to bark up their alley. THE FACT IS - we were not notified of my brother's depression. tech was first notified in october. that was TWO months ago. then again in november. do you realize that my brother could have been saved? DO YOU REALIZE ANY OF THAT?
Meanwhile, Virginia Tech administrators are high-fiving one another for having taken the second floor of Norris Hall, the classroom building where sociopath Seung-hui Cho did most of his mass-murdering on April 16, and renamed it the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention.

Violence prevention. Virginia Tech.

A Richmond newspaper columnist, gooshing with praise for the university's decision, recently held forth the following quote and follow-on comment about the news:

"Our students will benefit for years to come, and we believe it honors the students and families of those slain on April 16," Provost Mark McNamee said.

Perhaps a life -- or many -- might someday be saved as a result of what comes out of this new endeavor. As a society, we could all stand to devote more time to the pursuit of peace and nonviolence.

Perhaps a school known for a day of unspeakable violence can earn renown as a center of peace.
Or perhaps it can't.

Daniel Sun Kim is dead. Time to rename another floor of Norris Hall.

Britain Goes The Way Of Virginia Tech

The British in recent years have banned - almost completely - the private ownership of firearms, so as to eliminate crime. It is now nearly gun-free.

You can guess the all-too predictable result.

First, the headline:
Gun crime on the rise as number of armed police falls
by Benedict Brogan, London Daily Mail

The number of firearms officers working in areas where gun crime is soaring has fallen sharply, figures released reveal.

And despite a steep overall rise in firearms-related offences, the total number of weapons-trained officers has dropped. (link)
Here are some sobering statistics (1997 to 2006) from the article for those of you who praised Virginia Tech's becoming a "gun-free zone" and who now want to inflict the same on the rest of the commonwealth:

[S]tatistics released by the Home Office show the number of individuals found guilty of possessing weapons rose by 43 per cent from 2001 to 2005.

Over the same period, the number of crimes involving firearms recorded by police rose by 11 per cent, from 10,023 in 2001 to 11,084 in 2005.

On Merseyside, where Liverpool has been ravaged by violence, ... the area has recorded a 183 per cent rise in the number of persons found guilty of possessing or distributing prohibited weapons or ammunition between 1997 and 2005.

And Merseyside has seen the number of crimes where firearms were used soar by 62 per cent, from 299 in 2002 to 485 in 2006.

A similar picture emerges in Avon and Somerset, where the number of firearms officers has fallen by 29 per cent, from 165 in 1997 to 117 in 2006, while the firearms crimes soared by 62 per cent, from 131 in 2002 to 167.
The upshot of it all, from police spokesman David Ruffley:

"This is yet further evidence that this Government, despite imposing a ban on handguns and pledging to tackle violent crime, has presided over a steady increase in the everyday use of weapons on Britain's streets."
Great Britain is now a gun-free zone. May God have mercy on the British people.

'Terrorism Is Our Fault'

From the juveniles who write editorials (and, being mindless liberals, invariably find the USA at fault for all the world's ills) over at the Charleston (WV) Gazette:
Hollywood actress Melissa Roddy, who is making a documentary film about Afghanistan, says [former Congressman Charlie] Wilson and others who armed the Afghan rebels in the 1980s don’t want “history to remember them for their contribution to the events that culminated in 9/11.”

The Reagan Doctrine in the 1980s offered aid to any “freedom fighters” — no matter how ruthless — who would attack the Soviet Union. That White House policy undoubtedly helped bankrupt Soviet communism. But through the Law of Unintended Consequences, it aided the rise of Islamic terrorism that now is the world’s worst menace. (
link)
"Blowback: U.S. aided fanatics," December 26, 2007

At Least They're Consistent

Not only does the Roanoke Times want an economic-downturn-proof funding source for the state's transportation department, which is at least a debatable position to take, the boys there also want a permanent government funding source for what passes as art these days.

Who exactly that recession-proof funding source will be remains a mystery.

Why the government should be in the art business at all remains a mystery as well.

And so it goes ...

Want To Go Another Round?

Thanks to all who have made the boycott of Target stores successful:
Target Says Dec. Sales May Decline
By Ellen Simon, The Associated Press

New York -- Early holiday sales reports are weak, with Target Corp., the nation's No.2 retailer, warning that its sales may have fallen in December.

A broad gauge of consumer spending released by MasterCard Inc., which includes estimates for spending by cash and checks, showed a modest 2.4 percent increase in holiday spending, excluding gasoline and auto sales. * (link)
Maybe next year these guys will allow those Salvation Army bellringers to solicit donations for the poor in front of their stores. Or not.

No matter. We have lots of places to shop, fellas.

* Don't ask me how sales estimates can be both "weak" and "modest." I guess we have to remember the source.

SW Virginia On a Macro Scale

You might find this interesting. Just as much of the job growth in Southwest Virginia has in recent years been fueled (if not directly subsidized) by government investment, so goes the nation, it appears.

A troubling factoid to be found in this Washington Times editorial:

"[O]ur perusal of the November jobs report revealed that the private sector created only 64,000 jobs in November, while government added 30,000."

And this isn't even the Soviet Union. Yet.

- - -

I fear for my country.

Is This Bland County's Future?

With the sharp rise in property tax reassessments hitting everyone's mailbox in recent days like a lightning bolt, with some area residents seeing their appraisals going up a jaw-dropping 400%, do those on fixed incomes have the following to look forward to?

Plan Would Let Seniors Work to Pay Taxes
By Jim Fitzgerald, Associated Press Writer

Greenburgh, N.Y. (AP) - Audrey Davison lives alone, gets a $620 Social Security check each month and worries about the sharply rising taxes on her four-bedroom house. Davison, 76, raised her family there and after 43 years, she really doesn't want to leave Greenburgh.

Greenburgh doesn't want her to leave, either. (sic)

The town is pushing a program that would let seniors work part-time, for $7 an hour, to help pay off some of their property taxes.

"People shouldn't have to sell their house, move away to a place with less taxes, leave behind their family and friends," said Town Supervisor Paul Feiner. (link)
If you drive down the road and see Granny picking up trash in that illegal dumpsite, you'll understand why. She may be looking for her next meal, or she may be working off her debt to society.

Here's the deal. Many of the elderly on fixed incomes around here have four choices: (1) Beg the grandkids for a handout, (2) Rob a bank to pay their property taxes, (3) Find a double-wide and all move in together, or (4) the above.

The lesser of four evils ...

* This is the reason the property tax is the most pernicious of all taxes levied by government(s).

What Was Her Defining Attribute Again?

Looks like I'm not alone in wondering what all this talk about Hillary's "experience" is about:
[During her] two terms in the White House, [Hillary] Clinton did not hold a security clearance. She did not attend National Security Council meetings. She was not given a copy of the president's daily intelligence briefing. She did not assert herself on the crises in Somalia, Haiti or Rwanda. And during one of President Bill Clinton's major tests on terrorism, whether to bomb Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998, Clinton was barely speaking to her husband, let alone advising him, as the Lewinsky scandal dragged on.

In seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton lays claim to two traits nearly every day: strength and experience. But as the junior senator from New York, she has few significant legislative accomplishments to her name.
From Patrick Healy, "Hillary Clinton puts her experience first," The International Herald Tribune, December 25, 2007