The Virginia Tech Massacre

Opinion.jpgI’ve been pondering exactly how to post about what happened this week at the campus of Virginia Tech. I’ve got so many emotions about the killings of so many innocent people. I’m deeply saddened by all of it. At times, I’m a little numb because death is really something that is a daily part of a physician’s life. I’ve also just felt angry at society for allowing this to happen. At other times, I’m just angry with the killer.

The news has been going nonstop about this event. Who is to blame? Mr. Cho? His parents? His friends? The Virginia Tech community? No one?

I personally grew up in a family where it was taught that someone or something was always to blame for any mistake or tragedy. In our household, things just couldn’t happen for no reason. Someone always had to have done something wrong or forgotten something or have been neglectful. Yet the older I become and the more mortality and morbidity I see in my career, the more I know that things just happen without any rhyme or reason. The person who gets hit by a driver who did not see him did nothing to deserve it. The person who becomes paralyzed when a tree branch falls on his neck did nothing wrong.

Mental health is really at the heart of the Virginia Tech Massacre. Could this have been prevented if friends and family reached out to this disturbed individual sooner? Could this have been prevented if the people around him were more inquisitive and caring? Could this have been prevented if there was less violence in the popular media?

I’m not going to come down in favor of one side or another. But what I will say is that we are all part of a community. When one of us goes down, it inevitably affects us and we cannot deny that we are all interconnected. We go through life so focused on ourselves and providing for our own needs. We don’t intend to push others down, but if given the choice we would rather see ourselves rise than fall. In this environment, people slip through the cracks.

How many people have you known that slipped through the cracks? How many people do you know could be the next crazy killer?

If I look back in my own past to individuals that I thought were disturbed, troubling, or mentally unstable, I wonder where they are now. At every stage from childhood to college, I do recall people that I didn’t know well that were “outsiders”. Most of them slipped through the cracks socially and in school and athletics. Each one of them could have turned out successful and healthy. Or perhaps they could have turned out to be very dangerous people. It’s too bad that I was so self-consumed with my life that I didn’t take time to notice them or reach out a hand.

  • I am a university instructor, a songwriter, and psychologist. I believe music is a great outlet for expressing difficult emotions and a powerful way of healing the psyche following events of this nature.

    Here are a couple of songs of support for those who have lost loved ones in this terrible massacre. Sorry, I’m not the greatest singer, but I hope some people will be touched by the songs themselves:

    Virginia’s Tears
    Dr BLT (c) 2007
    words and music by Dr BLT (c) 2007

    Today in Virginia
    Dr BLT
    words and music by Dr Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr BLT (c) 2007

  • Steven Labri

    I am one of 32
    He doesn’t know my name
    It won’t matter who I am.
    For him we’re all the same

    To my family
    I am only one
    Not me – Not me
    I am the only son

    A sound rings out
    No pain felt
    I fall to the ground
    Fates hand dealt

    Light ahead
    I follow the source
    He dies among us
    Without remorse

    From high above
    I watch without fear
    The ground is damp
    From all our tears

    A regular day
    Under Spring sky
    Turning deadly so quick
    No time for goodbye

    I am one of 33

    Steven Labri

  • kara

    I feel so sorry for the sorrow you ,your friend and all the familys. I have everyone of you in my prayers and thoughts

  • parity fanatic for YEARS

    I don’t UNDERSTAND our methods to deal with Mental Illness on College campuses.
    If this killer in 2005 needed to be admitted to a hospital due to his mental problems while still a student, how much follow-up on his case was done on Campus?
    If his 5 roommates state he did not converse with them, but only grunted once in a while, should students know to make psychological staff aware of this type behavior? Is it not true, this killer was using his camera phone to attempt to photograph female students under where they were sitting?
    In other words, does individual privacy rights eliminate required attention to unusual behavior? What are our duties to protect the general student population from the possible misbehavior of the mentally disturbed?
    I support quality mental care for the mentally ill.
    I also support legislation which empowers others to request professional mental care evaluations that some individuals fail to receive.

  • Pingback: MENTAL HEALTH SOURCE PAGE » Blog Archive » Depression or Melancholy, Getting Through Pain, and Virginia Tech()

  • I am 65 year old woman, energy healer, Reiki Master, mother, grandmother, wife, daughter. Things happen. People get experiences. They make decisions. We have free will.

    My question: “What would you do if a lone gunman was shooting your friends?”

    I would jump him when he turned his back. I would hope that a fellow student would also come to my aid.

    What would you do?

    Thank You
    Taylore Vance
    Reiki Healing Master

  • Pingback: A Look Back at 2007 at Burst Blog()


Dr. JC is a medical doctor who has a passion for health promotion and education.

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