The mass murder this week at Virginia Tech was a horrible, inhuman act by a madman. The suffering was made worse, however, by the mercenary and stone-hearted decision by the media at large to broadcast everything they could find about the killer. What started as a reasonable effort to provide news and relevant information, soon devolved into a vulgar circus to see who could make the victims’ families experience the worst anguish. It must be said, before I say anything further, that the decision by NBC, Fox News, ABC, CBS, and CNN to flood the airwaves with sounds and images from the malignant narcissist, is effectively to promote the worst kind of voyeurism, and to display as cruel an indifference to the pain already endured by the victims’ families, as to be worthy of criminal charges in any just society. I firmly believe that on the day when all men are judged, there will be a grim reckoning for the likes of Brian Williams, Steve Capus, Dan Abrams, Roger Aisles, and their cronies.
But for all the crude behavior by the media, the fault for the massacre rests with the gunman. Him alone. For all the efforts made to blame the crime on Gun Control or the lack of it, on administrators or the police, the hate and the decision to destroy so many innocent lives lies on the person who made the choice. I don’t know, or care, whether or not he was “mentally ill”; even the mentally ill often know how to keep from hurting other people, and in the end there is no excuse, whatsoever, which justifies murder.
This particular monster wanted attention. He sent out photos, a “manifesto”, a video comparing himself to every person he ever considered great, though he was – at best – a pathetic failure who wasn’t man enough to accomplish anything more than to blame everyone and everything else for his failures. He is not worth remembering.
You have probably noticed I have not mentioned his name. So far as I am concerned, every evil act he committed took away something of what was left of him, and after so many murders there is nothing left to speak. A man, a real man anyway, is the sum of the good he does, and he establishes his name through honorable and virtuous acts. Heaven is by the grace of God, but a man’s honor and name is something he can build and know might have a chance of surviving him. Like Dr. Liviu Librescu, or Jacob Russell Ryker. Maybe like Todd Beamer or Paul Ray Smith.
You don’t have to do something bold and daring to earn your name, though. Millions of truly great men and women made their name by being good parents, by coaching or teaching kids, by helping neighbors and looking out for folks in need. Some earned their name through simple hard work, and the record of years of honest integrity. These kinds of people did not get the breaks others did, they didn’t get plush jobs or easy lives, but instead of blaming others they persevered and made something of their lives, in some cases succeeding against all odds. A solid work ethic, compassion for the needy, and a focus on providing for their family and loved ones. Just such people, real people worth knowing, worked and saved so their kids could go to college. Virginia Tech, maybe.
You want to know how you can help? Look up these families, maybe send them a note saying you are sorry for them and will pray for them, maybe you look to your community and your schools, and you ask them how you can make a difference for kids. What you do not do, is give even an ounce of attention to the evil soul who did the murders. He wanted fame and attention, so he must be denied these things; he has earned none of it. He, and the jackals who feed off his malice, are nothing but waste. In his case, a wasted life and in theirs, a waste of effort and focus. What you do with waste, is flush the toilet and move on, never thinking about what was never worth a thing beyond its passing.