On the way into the office today I heard a caller to a radio show say, in reference to the Virginia Tech incident, "You can't prevent crazy."
When things like this happen, be it in New York, Colorado, Oklahoma or Virginia, it seems that the typical knee-jerk reaction is "How could this have happened? Why didn't somebody stop it? There ought to be a law. We need new procedures to prevent this from happening again."
And after all of the discussions, hearings, interviews, analysis and reviews of procedures, such things end up (inevitably?) happening again.
Predictably, the discussion over the last day or so in the wall-to-wall media coverage has circled around questions like why the campus wasn't locked down earlier. Why did nobody see Cho's previous calls for help? How did he get the guns and ammo?
We need tighter gun control. We need more concealed carry. We need stricter campus security. Who is to blame?
All of this brushes aside the fact that the guy was crazy. We know he was crazy (aside from the obvious insanity of the act) because we are all crazy. Nobody is 100% sane (if there is such a thing).
Thankfully the vast majority of our individual neuroses don't manifest themselves in a shooting rampage. But we all have hang-ups about something. We learn to live with them, and we trust that everyone else will learn to live with their issues as well.
That some people don't, that they go off the rails as Ozzy says, is a calculated risk.
In our society, we've determined that we're willing to risk the occasional mass-murder so that we won't have to live under an oppressive totalitarian regime. We don't want our schools to resemble prisons. We don't want our interstate highways to look like Checkpoint Charlie. We don't want Big Brother looking over our shoulders every minute of every day. We don't want to give up our individual liberties.
Tragic as they are, incidents like the one that happened at Virginia Tech are the price we pay for living in an open society.
So what do we do?
We go home, embrace our loved ones, and thank whatever gods may be that we are alive and able to enjoy another day.
tagged: Virginia Tech, Cho Seung-hui, gun, Big Brother, tragedy, concealed carry, gun control