ENOUGH ALREADY. Yesterday I also received an email (which for the life of me disappeared when I hit the'compact emails' button last evening) which said that a Korean organization here in LA had alreaddy received several crank racist calls after it became known that the assailant at Virginia Tech was South Korean by nationality. Want to say racism is not existant in America? GIVE ME A BREAK!!
Here's the bottom line in this situation folks: Cho Seung-Hui suffered obviously from mental illness (no doubt mixed with American cultural violent tendencies, video games, violence in the media and even the violence of our own foreign policy-in other words, violence everywhere) and according to laws in place in the US, NOTHING can be done to an apparently mentally ill person unless they are a threat to themselves or others. BUT it doesn't become legally possible to force help on a mentally ill person until that person has committed an act in most cases. Following the Columbine massacre, there was a public outcry for schools at all levels to act pre-emptively when students were exhibiting strange and potentially harmful behavior. Incidents of overboard reactions were MANY and conversely many potentially violent actions were overted by prompt pre-emptive action.
At the college and university levels where students reside inhouse, schools everywhere scrambled to come up with policies addressing this issue which would not collide with the existing laws protecting the mentally ill. I tried to find Virginia Tech's policy but their website is inundated with information concerning this tragedy that has befallen them. I WAS able to find Harvard's policy which reads: (I venture to say VT's policy although is precisely the same, written by those knowing the laws concerning this matter)
"The College, in consultation with the affected student, determines whether an injured or ill student, or a student exhibiting disturbing behavior, may continue in residence, and whether he or she may return to residence after a short or longer-term absence due to accident, illness, or behavioral disturbance. In situations where a student's medical illness or behavioral disturbance raises concerns about the feasibility and appropriateness of his or her residence in a dormitory or House, the College values the expert advice of HUHS or BSC clinicians and AEO in reaching its informed decision on the student's remaining in or returning to the College residence."As the victims names are released, we see that they came from many different backgrounds. This is NOT a case of an individual being a murderer because he happens to be South Korean, Asian, OR a green card holder and therefor suspect as an "alien". This is NOTHING but a case of a system which is not set up well to aid the mentally ill, OR deal with an unfolding mass murder on campus (witness the campus NOT being closed down after the first incident, the delayed emails, the English professor who referred him for guidance but could not force him to go or remove him from the school). This could happen anywhere by ANYONE and until we come to the realization that we as human beings are ALL equal and must stand together, scenes like Monday's massacre and other incidents will occur. In conclusion, this is NOT a time for division, but rather the time for us all to come together to mourn ALL of the victims equally as well as not blame an individual (or his ethnicity) but delve deeper into the entire system which is responsible for this and how we handle it as a nation.
Feel free to forward or post...
Below is an excellent letter sent to the LA Times. Let's hope they post it, but if not, here it is:
There are MANY issues raised by this tragedy folks, and it is HIGH TIME for the discussion on ALL the issues involved to be opened and dealt with properly. Just as one thing leads to another, let us keep in our hearts and prayers and ACTIONS, that we are all connected as human beings.
Subject: RE: Virginia Tech massacre
To: Los Angeles Times
Participate in online vigil for Virginia Tech