Monday, April 23, 2007

The Virginia Tech Blame Game

Thanks to Cyinical-C, there is now a comprehensive list of everything to blame for the Virginia Tech Shootings.

In this excerpt, you will note many of the usual suspects, and you are invited to add your own in the comments section.

In case you were wondering who’s to blame for the Virginia Tech massacre, I’ve created a list this morning to keep track. Feel free to send in any that I’ve missed.


The list keeps on growing and has 45 46 47 49 51 55 56 57 58 different items at the moment. Thanks to everyone who is sending me more links to add to the list.

It’s the fault of violent video games.

It’s the fault of movies.

It’s that no other students were armed.

It’s the cowardly students who didn’t rush the shooter.

It’s the first victim’s fault.

It’s secularism’s fault.

It’s the Muslims’ and/or foreigners’ fault.

It’s the Atheists’ fault.

It’s the fault of the colleges and how they coddle their students.

It’s society’s fault.

It’s the Second Amendment’s fault.

....and so-forth. I even added my own thing to blame, the abuse of power.

Now, many of these ideas, left and right, wackadoodlish and irrelevant though they are, are still mostly sincere. But there are a couple of exceptions, and here's one of them.

Think Progress » AFA blames school shootings on lack of prayer, spankings.: "AFA blames school shootings on lack of prayer, spankings.

In a new video, the the right-wing American Family Association attributes the tragedy at Virginia Tech to: a lack of prayer in school, a lack of the Bible in school, a lack of spanking kids, a lack of physical punishment in school, abortion, condoms, Bill Clinton, Internet pornography, free speech, the entertainment industry, “satanic” music, and liberal culture in general. Watch it:"

I actually couldn't bring myself to watch more than a few seconds. Let me know how far you hurl if you feel brave.

I note they have disabled comments, but just in case they are paying attention,make sure you blog it, stumble it, digg it and bookmark it every way from Sunday, along with your comments. If you don't have anything profound in mind, well, you could respond with this rather eloquent fellow who has a terribly educated accent and quotes Epicurus.

But it is a majestic example of the cynical manipulation of the fearful and ignorant. It's not AFA you have to fear, though. It's the people who are persuaded by this sort of fear mongering.

The fact is, all the things the AFA would like to blame, the lack of proper authoritarian guidance with a steel hand in a steel wool glove are in fact just as likely to cause someone to go postal. The abuse of power tends to do that. And the solution for that is not to crush the souls of the innocent even harder, no matter what the ironically named "American Family Association" would tell you.

Update: A link from the above source, "It's the bullies" leads to a well-researched and passionate article at Alternet by Mark Ames, who leads gently into a multi -page article with these observations:

Of all the idiotic reactions, so far none tops an article posted on, written by an "investigative reporter" with the ill-begotten name of "Bill Dedman." His investigation allegedly revealed that Cho Seung-Hui, the shooter, displayed alleged classic warning signs of a rampage shooting. Citing a landmark Secret Service study of schoolyard rampage massacre, Dedman observed, "In more than three out of four school shootings, the attacker had made no threat against the schoolteachers or students. But most attackers engaged in some behavior prior to the incident that caused others concern or indicated a need for help. The attackers posed a threat even though they hadn't made a threat."

In other words, if you think someone's weird, but he hasn't threatened anyone, he's a threat.

There are two very serious flaws in Dedman's investigation. First, if the profile of a schoolyard rampager is someone who doesn't threaten anyone but who raises suspicions, then America will have to open up a new GULAG archipelago to hold all of the millions of kids who fit this description. But the second flaw is even more serious: the Secret Service study Dedman cites draws exactly the opposite conclusion: There is no way to profile a potential schoolyard killer. That was what was so shocking about the report. Everyone who has studied these rage massacres knows it. Everyone but journalists like Dedman, that is.

What Dedman's article reveals isn't just the sloppy work of a typical mainstream hack but, rather, of a culture desperate for an easy explanation for the massacre -- one that doesn't implicate it in the crime.

It is is far more difficult to deal with the possibility that other factors may have led to the massacre, factors that are still too painful and close to us to consider. For example, how was this nerdy South Korean immigrant treated at his suburban high school and at Virginia Tech? What is the campus life like? What was it about Virginia Tech that made it the setting for the first student-on-student college massacre? And why were there copycat threats at campuses across Middle America over the following days? [emphasis mine]

I suggest you go to the source article and, if you know people who may be usefully influenced by it - school board members, teachers, administrators, politicians - forward it to them. After that, digg it up, stumble it and otherwise generally raise it's profile to the skies.

And thanks, Mark.

UPDATE: I've started a YouTube Vblog with a subcategory of School Shootings, rather than clog this post up even more with videos.

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