I go to memeorandum a few times a day - both to get news and to see what people are talking about. When I went some minutes ago, I was saddened to see another Republican victory in the battle to control the topics of our national discourse. There was not a single link nor any reference to the tragedy at Virginia Tech. It's not in the technorati top ten either.
President Bush flies to the memorial service, and flags are at half-mast, but since the first reports out of Blacksburg, the goal of the GOP has been to stifle inquiry and silence discussion. Endless talk of healing and closure are easy and cheap - actually allowing the press to stay on campus to do their job could be really damaging.
I think it's very important for us not to comment until it's all said and done."
As Adam Gopnik noted in The New Yorker the best time to discuss issues of gun control is after an incident like this, yet we were told that we had to concentrate on healing. Wing-Nuts were furious at those who tried to "politicize" the tragedy, and in their outrage argued that more guns are needed on campus, not less, and that the dead men's masculinity was to be doubted. The issue for Derbyshire was the cowardice of the victims. The simple fact that a really crazy young man had had no problem buying two semi-automatic handguns, guns whose only purpose is to kill people, is OK with them.
The right cheered when V-Tech kicked the media off campus, and condemned the media for showing the Cho video. The media often does do an awful job in this country, but I agree with Atrios that it is hugely hypocritical for the right to want them to exercise even more control over what information we get to see. But they did not want us to see the video, not as Noonan says because "such pictures are inspiring to the unstable." No, we cannot see the video because that might humanize the demon.
The right's delight when reporters were asked to leave campus is understandable. Like Peggy Noonan, they want to see Cho as "a walking infestation of evil." and mourn that it is "Too bad nobody stopped him. Too bad nobody moved." An "infestation of evil" is not the son of your neighbor, not a person - it's only a thing, a thing that must be stopped. (Preferably by the pull of a trigger.) It's not like a person who could be helped.
There is no need for a reporter to ask what happened after Cho's English teacher asked the administration to make sure that he got help? Did his roommates ever try to get him to get help? When a classmate mockingly offered to pay him ten bucks if he'd speak, how did the others gathered round react? This was a sick guy who clearly needed help. He wanted to be heard. People don't take play-writing seminars because they don't want to be heard. In all its convocations, did the University spend any time exploring their own culpability?
Noonan's piece was especially hateful, as she revered the Reagan who cynically pulled a bait and switch making help less available to the next Cho, and then writes about our "therapized nation." The college years are ones in which serious mental illness often first manifest themselves. Yet the Times reports today, there is "one full-time clinical staff member per 1,697 students." This, while there is 1.3 suicide attempts per hundred students, hardly defines a therapized nation. The AMA reports "that the supply of U.S. psychiatrists shrank 27 percent between 1990 and 2002. Meanwhile, physician staffing industry data indicate that demand increased by 16 percent in a shorter time frame (1997-2001)."
If we needed it, the Gonzales testimony gave us a reminder last week that the Republicans do not believe in responsibility. They are not responsible for the effects of their actions, nor are they responsible for helping their neighbor. The God that guys like Riehl want back in the classroom has nothing to do with the One insisting that you are your brother's keeper. There is no compassion in today's Conservatives.
So the liberals have lost another round. The case of V-Tech is closed. No lessons are to be learned and no questions asked. Cho is evil. We should all carry semi's to shoot evil. It's much better to focus on Tom DeLay calling Sen. Reid of being a traitor.