Friday, April 20, 2007

Critics Of The Virginia Tech Gunman Videos Miss Many Vital Points

By a narrow edge, the public is turning critical of the decision of MSM outlets to air the disturbing videos by the Virginia Tech gunman.

There were many reasons that the videos gained such airplay by the MSM. The event in Virginia was major news and there was major interest in the story. The MSM saw the unique opportunity of the videos as a rare item from the killer to explain his actions. Just like the intense interest in Lee Harvey Oswalt in 1963 after the Kennedy assasination, the videos by Cho were an item that public interest really wanted to see, at least for while. Even the newfound critics of these videos no doubt wondered why Cho murdered, and watched these videos for at least a day before turning to critics.

But for those wanting to understand the moltivations of Cho, the videos probably provided important closure that the killer was indeed moltivated by severe mental illness, while for the educational, police, courts and psychiatric community serious questions need to be raised why the local system broke down so badly and a mentally ill person who was a danger to himself and others was not forced by court order into psychiatric treatment.

Many communities provide for police to bring suspected mentally ill persons in for some sort of psychiatric observation, and avoid some of the problems of mentally ill persons in their community. In this Virginia community, many warning signs long existed about Cho, yet either lax laws or poor funding really put no teeth into forcing treatment for Cho despite many building incidents. Amazingly enough, even professors and students in the English department, in which Cho majored, seemed to fail at any attempts for campus security or administration to take serious steps to either get Cho the professional help that he needed or even expell him.

Part of the reason that Cho may have resisted treatment was his South Korean culture which may have seen seeking helping as unmanly in this culture. Many South Korean males will resist needed medical treatment for example, because for them it may be interpreted as some sign of personal weakness. This cultural issue may have explained why Cho continued to slid into even worse emotional pain and mental suffering rather than seek professional help. Many communities provide free or low cost treatment for medical and mental health issues including low cost or free medications.

Instead of critics focusing on the videos of Cho, there needs to be stronger efforts to improve funding of mental health programs and some stronger process for a court to enforce treatment of persons who may constitute a danger to themselves or others. If only Cho would have been receiving some sort antipsychotic medications this entire violent episode could have been completely avoided. If the public wants to complain about anything, it's a lack of funding and real teeth in the court's response to mental health issues in the Virginia community.


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