Last week everyone watched with shock and horror the post nightmare of the Virginia Tech shootings. Scholars and lecturers were gunned down in a pointless sense of rage by one lost soul. Was it true that a single armed individual could cause so much pain and suffering, creating a ripple effect of shock and disbelief around the world. Yes, unfortunately, the killer, whose name does not deserve to be in print, established himself as a mass murderer.
One has to ask why and a hope that it will not be repeated? Yet, I wonder if the underlying reasons for him ‘snapping’ were more than his apparent inability to be ‘in with the in crowd’. Maybe he was mentally disturbed or his condition could have been as a result of an accumulative set of circumstances.
If people feel left out, unfortunately little is done to help them reach out and find a support group or a proactive approach to help get involved in team activities, for example: school games, competitions or techniques to bring out the positive qualities of individuals. I believe that today there are many lonely people in a world. Ironic, as we are surrounded by over six Billion individuals. Clique mentality exists everywhere but little is done to expose possible areas of stress.
In the case of the Virginia Tech shootings I am certainly not giving any excuses to the person who’s loose screw eventually made him lose any sense of reality.
What continues to confuse everyone about this killer is the potential difference between his online and off-line persona. Maybe he hid his true mental situation well and that no amount of profiling would have exposed this would be killer? Although I mentioned the need for a proactive approach to pick-up on potential killers, it appears that in late 2005 a special Justice’s order directed the Virginia Tech killer to seek outpatient treatment and declare him to be mentally ill and an imminent danger to himself. Why did no one pick-up on this fact? This fact alone fits the federal criteria of him (the killer) being unable to purchase a gun i.e.: The stated circumstance should have immediately disqualified him.
I am not implying that we need Big Brother type policing. However, today we certainly have sorting algorithms and data mining tools to review and correlate data in an attempt to profile potential killers.
Finally, a lot has been written about whether the world should have been exposed to his online documented persona. One argument is that this exposure immortalises him and that may have been one of his aims. However, I believe that the reverse is true. We see from his videos and pictures that he was truly beyond reason and had ‘lost the plot’. His videos expose him as a fraud and deluded.
For our proactive approach to halt such a reoccurrence, we are able to learn more about opening up our attitudes to people and the need to urgently consider new strategies to capture potential lost souls.