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The Virginia Tech. Massacre
and the Art of Passing the Moral Buck

Printable Version

by Jason Roth

It occurred to me that there is a rather unsettling similarity between the rationalizations of Virginian Tech. killer Cho Seung Hui, the American legal system, and modern morality in America in general. All three operate (or operated) under the principle of the new justice: the justice of pointing the finger. The principle of "it's his fault". Of passing the moral buck.

Everyone seems to agree that someone should have done something to prevent the Virginia Tech. Massacre. And everyone agrees that the someone to do it was someone else.

Think about these widely reported, but nevertheless amazing, facts:

"...authorities disclosed that in November and December 2005, two women complained to campus police that they had received calls and computer messages from Cho. But the women considered the messages 'annoying,' not threatening, and neither pressed charges, Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said."

Got that? Cho was "annoying" enough to get reported to the cops.

Here's how CBS News puts the same thing in an article title:

Police: Cho Stalked 2 Women In 2005
Two Women Complained, But Failed To Press Charges; He Then Went To Mental Health Agency

Someone call the Gestapo and torture these bitches. They behaved like college students instead of professional detectives.

Here's a question. Since when is it the job of college students to determine whether someone should be criminally investigated? Did the 32 dead really depend on two women who had the gonads to report this cocksucker to the police, but didn't have the requisite ESP, weapons, or sufficient police training to determine that people who had police training ought to be using their own fucking brains?

Essentially, here's the response these two chicks got from the system for doing the right thing:

"Hey, kid. Would you like to press charges against this future killer of 32? If not, we have parking tickets to write up."
- US Legal System

Why do we allow students, or any private citizens, to determine whether to "press charges" after they've made an accusation that a possible crime has been committed? Police should determine whether sufficient evidence exists for a criminal act and choose whether to investigate it. Perhaps a private citizen should have the right to insist that a case be pursued, but why must other citizens suffer because an accuser gets cold feet, or simply opts against it for other personal reasons? Once someone makes an accusation of a potential crime, police should be required to investigate it if they believe sufficient evidence exists of a potential crime. Cases of harassment and other minor crimes must be pursued, or else we are simply waiting for more serious crimes to occur. And if the corollary is that accusers are required to put their money where their mouth is every time they make a complaint to police, that isn't a bad idea, either.

I am not a legal expert, and it's difficult to find out the exact method police use to determine whether a complaint should be investigated. What is clear, however, is that there are occasions police are either (a) completely at the mercy of citizens choosing to "press charges", or (b) intentionally using citizens' lack of their own misunderstood authority as an excuse to be lazy. The second case is plausible. I have anecdotal evidence, as I'm sure most people do, of occasions when police officers opt not to pursue the course of justice because it means too much paperwork. I am also confident that the amount of paperwork that police officers have to do is absurd, stupid, counterproductive, and every other bureaucratic consequence you can think of. But police officers are just as susceptible to the influences of our corrupt culture as the rest of us. (I don't believe the heroes of human history were deterred by paperwork.)

The question comes down to this. Is there, embedded in our legal system, a fatal flaw that obligates police officers to bow their heads to barely legal college chicks in order to do their own jobs? Or do police officers use "the victim refused to press charges" as an excuse for their inaction and guaranteed inability to prevent future crimes?

We've heard about the "citizen's arrest". (Not that anyone knows one iota about how the fuck to actually make one.) But little did we know, every time we tip off cops to what we believe are crimes, we also deserve a police captain's salary. At that moment, we are every lieutenant's boss. You better think about each of the next potential 32 dead before you drop your charges.

So much for the legal issues. Let's get to the moral. Since Cho murdered 32 people, Psalm 32 seems like as good place to start as any.

Blessed is he
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.

Blessed is the man
whose sin the Lord does not count against him
and in whose spirit is no deceit...

Think about the idea of your sin "not counting" against you. It's like morally fucking up but getting a full refund of Godpoints. Religion says your actions are justified, or dictated, by a power outside yourself. The outside power determines whether your actions are good or bad, forgiven or unforgiven. And as the above Bible excerpt illustrates, not only can man have his immorality evaporated away by God, he is actually blessed (made holy) by it. In Christianity, you can get a black mark on your moral soul before you even take your lips off your mother's breast (original sin).

I can see sending a kid to Hell if he's a teething, little bastard and extracts blood, but I still tend to give moral slack to people who haven't yet learned to wipe their own asses.

Instead of God, the nonreligious blame sins on environment or genes, disagreeing about whether the intelligent force directing the individual resides inside or outside the body, but agreeing that it does not reside inside the human skull. The human will is nonexistent, according to most nonbelievers, what exists are only biological components and external forces. How do they know this? Presumably, because their genes or environment required them to know it.

The religious believe in free will, but they advocate its use only for the purpose of adhering to a mindlessly accepted creed of behavior. I.e., you know you used your will to its potential if you've suppressed it sufficiently to obey (the virtue of faith). The typical nonreligious denies free will, because he can't chop it out and put it in a test tube, and because he equates the part (genes, cells) with the whole (the human mind as a functioning whole). These are both one, big masquerade of pretending to understand and seek causes for human behavior, but in reality escaping the self-evident fact that the mind is free. If you don't believe your mind is free, then I will politely excuse you from any discussion.

Cho Seung Hui's environment never gave him enough hugs. That's the moral of the story as many people see it. "What could we have done to prevent this?" they ask. The emphasis is on "we", the public (not "we, the cops"), and the implication is that it's the fault of somebody other than Cho Seung Hui why this poor, abused, pussy pulled the trigger 30-something times. F him. And F his moral excusers.

If there's one thing that lies at the bottom of the lowest layer of scum in our society, it's our sympathy for the devil. It's why devils like Cho Seung Hui demand our sympathy. By now, they have the right to expect it.

"Do you know what it feels like to be spit on your face, and have trash shoved down your throat? Do you know what it feels like to dig your own grave? Do you know what it feels like to have your throat slashed from ear to ear? Do you know what it feels like to be torched alive? Do you know what it feels like to be humiliated and be impaled upon on [sic] a cross, and left to bleed to death for your amusement? You have never felt a single ounce of pain in your whole life."

This is a man who blamed his victims in advance for his own evil. His pain, our lack of sympathy for his pain, is the intractable force directing his behavior. It sounds like a rough draft of The Who's Behind Blue Eyes. These lines could have come straight from Cho Seung Hui's manifesto:

No one knows what its like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes...

No one knows what its like
To feel these feelings
Like I do
And I blame you...

When my fist clenches, crack it open
Before I use it and lose my cool...

If I swallow anything evil
Put your finger down my throat
If I shiver, please give me a blanket
Keep me warm, let me wear your coat...

We live in a culture that pities, excuses, and reveres the sinner. We ought to learn that if we do it loudly and often enough, sometimes the sinner also gets the message.

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