Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tragedy, And A Bit Of Absurdity

First, ONAF issues its sincerest condolences to all those killed or injured in the Virginia Tech massacre, and their friends and families. I can't imagine how it must feel to have someone you love ripped away from you in such a senseless way. I think we're all in a state of shock and mourning now.

But obviously, it's too much to ask for some people to just mourn for a while before they start pointing fingers. Dr. Phil has already fired up the inevitable "let's blame video games" bandwagon (and I like The Agitator's response). And noted creationist twit Ken Ham has blamed... Darwin and atheism. Jacob, Barzelay, Zhubin... you bastards. (Note - there are apparently some douches who used this line after Columbine too, including Tom DeLay.)

What else will be blamed for the shooting by the time the news cycle ends? I'll compile a short list, along with the people most likely to make the accusation:

- Guns (Sen. Feinstein or some such person)
- Liberals (Limbaugh, Falwell/Robertson/Dobson) (Update: Check.)
- Bullying (insert your favorite sociologist here)
- Trans fats (Mike Bloomberg)
- Taxes (Grover Norquist)
- Global warming (Al Gore)
- Moral decay (Phyllis Schlafly)
- Hillary Clinton (Dick Morris)
- Jews (let's face it, we get blamed for everything)

I'm thinking of a South Park episode here. Y'all know which one.

Oh well. At least it's comforting to know that, even in the face of ultimate tragedy, badasses like this guy still exist.

Update: And the winner of the Asshole Blame Contest is... this guy, who blames the Virginia Tech students themselves for not bum-rushing the guy. Honorable mention to this idiot who blames a "culture of passivity," whatever the fuck that is. Really, I haven't wanted to drop-kick anyone this bad for a long time. This is the kind of thing that makes satire obsolete. My little fake list up there is no match for real douchitude. I... I quit. More idiocy: The same NRO blogger apparently also thinks the kidnapped British soldiers were traitors. Can this guy just go ahead and blame Jesus for being a pussy, thus completing the jackass trifecta?

Yet another update: And we have jihad! Apparently, the fact that the VT shooter kinda looked like this guy who lives in Indonesia and may have a third or fourth degree connection to a suspected terrorist is proof that the VT shooter was a global jihadist. This blame stuff gets crazier and crazier, man... stay tuned. For some really funny stuff, read the comments section, where the author gets rightfully reamed.

Update: Predictably, Phelps is blaming gays. Someone else is blaming the Devil. Hat tip for both: Jamie.

Update: It was the Gipper, in the building, with the gun. Hat tip: Miguel.


Michael said...

Of course, maybe the idea that the shooter is actually to blame, and is personally responsible for his actions, is just a little too radical.

Why can't people just admit that this guy, Cho, was evil. He chose to do it, and he knew exactly what would happen. It's his fault.

Mike said...

Thank you Michael. I agree completely. You live up to the awesomeness that is your first name.

And then of course the other train that's been running is what actions by university officials could have prevented Cho's actions. They'll trample that one to death too.

Jeff, in response to your question over on my blog, the Jeffersonian is Ricky, who apparently knew 4 of the victims. I haven't talked to him directly unfortunately, but his away messages indicated as much.

Miguel said...

I'm very relieved to hear that Ricky is alright, but am deeply saddened to hear that he was personally affected by this tragedy.

As for the blame game, it's all part of the coping mechanism that the country has developed in the face of tragedy: retribution. There has to be something tangible that we can "punish". We can't "punish" the gunmen because he's already dead. So we have to look for something else, whether it be guns, video games, etc. It gives people "resolution" and helps some people deal with the tragedy that some sort of "justice" was handed out, regardless of whether it was done appropriately or not.

Anonymous said...

The blame game satirizes can now add to your list "demonic possession.",2933,266860,00.html


Miguel said...

Show me Ronald Reagan!

Pierce said...

To play devil's advocate here for a second: it's one thing to directly assign fault to any group or individual other than Cho; that's bullcrap and every reasonable person knows it...

But I don't see anything wrong with stepping back and looking at the bigger picture, not for the purposes of assigning blame, but to analyze what we might have done to better prepare for, prevent, or handle this type of thing.

Would this incident have been made better or worse if we had stricter gun control laws? What about more lax gun control laws?

For the future, should we increase police response to gun violence even if there doesn't appear to be a continuing threat?

Would increasing government funding for psychiatric care, and a more active approach to identifying and treating individuals with mental illness, have addressed Cho's problems before he got to this point?

Do our society's developing ideas about moral philosophy have an encouraging/discouraging impact on violent beliefs?

Do we discourage self-preservation instincts and behavior in our country? Would more violence be caused or averted if we made that more of a priority?

All of these are valid questions related to the different scapegoating examples you gave. I'm not saying any or all of them have clear answers, and I'm definitely not saying that they confer responsibility for this tragedy on anyone but Cho. Just that it doesn't hurt to broaden the discourse on the issue.

Ben said...

I think Pierce has a point.

Also, I note that the link to the "Devil" story isn't working least, when I clicked on it, it said access forbidden. The Devil at work?

Jeff said...

Oh, that Devil...

Pierce - it's one thing to broaden the discourse, but a completely different thing to cheapen it. The links I've provided are discourse cheapeners for one of two reasons. Either they assign blame to a single person other than the killer or they paint the killer as an agent of some greater force. Both absolve the killer of any responsibility. Sure, we can discuss what might have prevented this, but too many people cross that fine line into either making the killer look like a victim or creating some greater perpetrator.

Mike said...

A new one offered up by my co-worker Digger: if there were legalized prostitution and the kid could have just gone out and gotten himself laid, he would have been much less wound up. So, blame illegal prostitution.