Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cho Seung-Hui... Forgiven?

It seems that there is a sudden outpouring of forgiveness for the freak-of-nature that killed over 30 innocent people just a few days ago, according to this CBS article. Here's a quote from one of the students at Virginia Tech:

"People are talking about the senseless violence and hatred of his actions. They are senselessly hating him in return, and that is completely unfair." -- MacKenzie Swigart
Excuse me? A guy goes on a killing rampage through campus and it's "senseless" and "unfair" to hate him? What would it take to justify hatred? 300 deaths? 3,000?

Some people really do live in an alternate world I guess. It's okay to hate this guy. Really. It's fine. You don't have to forgive him. In fact, I think it's a little odd that you'd forgive someone just days later for something as heinous as this.

There's more:
"Cho Seung-Hui lived eight-thousand, four-hundred, and eighty-nine days. I and no reasonable person, or deity, could or should allow the events of one of them to discount the other eight-thousand, four-hundred, and eighty-eight," the student wrote.
Sometimes you want to reach through the computer and slap someone. Is this kid out of their mind? You know what? I *DO* discount those other 8,000 days based on this one day. I most certainly do. Does that make me a bad person?

Look, I don't know what drove this guy to do this. Maybe he had a bad reaction to some anti-depression or other psychosomatic drugs. Maybe he was the victim of some kind of pysical or extreme mental abuse that made him a lunatic. Maybe aliens abducted him. Maybe it was just good old mother nature dealing someone a fricked-up brain in the great evolutionary lottery.

Either way, he picked up the guns, he planned the assault, and he killed all those people.

It was not society. It was not government. It was not anyone else's fault but his own. Period. End of story.

I think people like to find "something else" to blame because the thought of some totally random event - like a psychopath storming a classroom and killing everyone in sight for no logical reason - makes them uncomfortable.

As well it should.

It's easy, in modern society, with all of the technology, science, and knowledge we have about the world, to forget that there are many, many things we simply can't control on a daily basis. And it's events like these that should get you to spend at least 30 seconds to try and rationalize what YOU might do if you ever found yourself in that situation. Jump out the window? Barricade the door? Charge the assailant? Stand there in a panic?

These things do really happen, and at least running through a little bit of mental preparation might help keep you out of harms way. Or it might not. I have no idea, and I hope I never have to find out how I'd react. But still, evil people do bad things to good people, every single day.

It's okay to blame them.

It's okay not to forgive them.

And if you don't blame them and hold them accountable for their actions, then you're kidding yourself, and you're doing a disservice to yourself, your friends, and your family who might need you to be the one that does something rational during a future crisis.

Just standing there, wondering how society drove this madman into your classroom, and what he did with the other years of his life, is not going to help you get your butt out that window and to safety. Compassion won't bar the door, and forgiveness won't provide a weapon so you can fight back.

And when it's all over, you don't have to "lovingly remember" the perpetrator, as Ms. Swigart advocates.

I'd consider you to be a bit crazy yourself if you did.


Nick said...

Jeff, I would forgive you if you killed 30+ people in a rampage. I mean, look at all the good stuff you've done in 11,000+ days on the planet.

universal said...

Forgiveness is the antithesis of hate.

Forgiveness allows healing and hate obstructs it.

Forgiving Cho of his heinous act allows us to heal.

Continuing to hate causes Cho's act to continually hurt us over and over again.

For we who aren't victims this hurt is obviously gravely inferior to those of the victims. However it's still hurt, we're still affected by it, no matter how small.

Refusing to forgive does absolutely nothing to Cho. He is not affected by that one tiny bit. Hating him is not achieving even a tiny sliver of justice. All it's doing is hurting us, and hurting those around us.

That's what Ms Swigart is advocating.

stacey said...

Just because you say you can "forgive" something/someone doesn't mean that you automatically stop hurting or that you can forget. I agree with Jeff (for once!) that this guy was totally crazy and out of control and for the deaths of all of those innocent people, I HATE him....and probably will forever! I'll get over the rage I feel whenever I think of it, but I doubt that I'm capable of forgiving him. This fact isn't because I want to "do" something to him or affect him in any way...duh...he's dead too. I'm just human and am truly disgusted with the actions of this individual.

Jeff said...

Stacey agrees with me? Something must be horribly wrong! LOL

But I do have to wonder about all this "forgiveness"... Do these same people forgive Hitler? Stalin? Were the Cambodian Killing Fields after Vietnam just some kind of misunderstanding? Do I owe compassion to the 9-11 hijackers?

Identifying evil people as evil and be done with it.

Sure, even Darth Vader came around in the end, but not before blowing up planets along the way! :)

universal said...

You may want to reread what I wrote. I said forgiveness "allows" healing and hate obstructs it.

Forgiveness is the beginning of the healing process.

If there is no forgiveness then even if the anger dies away, the hurt is still there. It is just much colder than it was at first.

So if hating him does nothing but hurt yourself and those around you then why do it? Why not forgive and eventually find a sense of peace.

Dana said...

You can say you "forgive" someone but do you really mean it? What does that actually mean? To me....forgiving someone means that you can actually think about that person and not cringe in disgust. It seems to me that it should take more than a few days to actually 'forgive' someone for massacuring 32 people! Seriously.

universal said...

Forgiving someone means no longer harbouring resentment or hate towards them.

The time frame for forgiveness depends on the person involved. No one can be forced to forgive either.

But what I'm saying is that it has to happen -eventually- in order for healing to take place.