The need to ask why after college shooting

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 26, 2007

A week and two days after the tragic shootings of 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech, theories about why Seung-Hui Cho went on his horrific murder spree are plentiful.

But most likely we will never know just why this 23-year-old man murdered 32 other people last Monday morning.

In an age of instant gratification, we want to know why now – why did he choose that dorm room, why did he choose that academic building?

Many people have questioned the release of videos Cho sent to NBC News the morning of the shootings. Many people have criticized the media for questioning campus officials who did not seek to expel Cho or get him further help after several professors and students raised concerns about his actions and his writings.

But those questions are important, not to place blame, but to learn more. It may be uncomfortable for us, but we need to continue to probe the why.

Of course we will never know exactly why Cho did what he did – a thankfully infinitesimal number of people could even imagine committing such violence.

But we need to learn as much as we can from this incident – because it will happen again. Not because there are copycats who want to follow Cho, but because there are equally dangerous loners out there whose capacity for violence is strong.

If we can learn something about what might have turned Cho the other way, if we can find some way to prevent such violence again, the questions are worth it. - Brewton-Standard