Sunday, April 29, 2007

VIRGINIA, April 16th, 7:15

At that precise time and date, Seung-Hui Cho, 23, shot the first bullet and killed the first of 32 mortal victims in what has become the largest massacre of this kind ever. I'm not going to bore you with the facts, they have been widely spread by the media these last couple of weeks. For details on them, I will refer you to th Wikipedia for the article, the timeline, and the victims list. (it is noticeable how the Wikipedia has grow beyond its limits of being merely and encyclopedia, and it became a source of information probably as reliable as the old consolidated and reputed newspapers or TV news channels for live happenings, but that's an issue for a whole discussion itself)

In the previous post I included just a picture of this young men. Take a calm look at him. How is he different from you, student at UCLA, or you, intern at a CERN laboratory, or from me? We'll come to this question later.

Many comments have aroused these days around this big massacre. Gun control, slow response from Virginia Tech administration, government responsibility...everybody has an opinion (which is fine) and every opinion about everything this days gets related to this (which is not that fine, don't you think?).

It seems that this days every public debate, every political intervention or every columnist worth listening or reading must in one way or another use what happened in this date.

And my opinion is: why doesn't this debate get to what I consider the important questions? Big questions arise, the most important of them being the 'gun control' issue. Europeans saying "this wouln't happen her, we cannot buy weapons in the groceries' " and Americans going a couple of rounds over the "freedom and self defense vs security and control" arguments. And so on. But I think that these are arguments for the other 50 weeks of the year. What April 16th should have alerted us about is "How can someone end up doing that?".

We all get angry these days. Some more, some less, but we all have stress, suffer an incompetent boss, have an grumpy neighbor or suspect our mailman is stealing our mail. Everybody has been irate. Even some of us get into fights, shout, cry, get divorce, break friends relationships... But there's a moral limit restraining us from shooting these people we hate. And all we want to talk about after something like this happens is where he got the weapon?

I think a society into which this kind of thoughts grow (and it is not the first time) has a bigger problem. Arms could be absolutely eradicated from shops across the US. and from the hands of every honest American. And there would still be a problem. If Cho hadn't easy access to weapons, his ill-formed mind (and I say it with all respect, since I really believe a mind capable of that is ill and requires medical treatment) would have found another way of exploting. Maybe he could get an illegal weapon (would it be much harder to get that a shot of cocaine?). Or he might poison the water supply. Or kill people with a piano string (yeah, maybe I've played too many videogames). Who knows. But what made Cho so dangerous was not the weapons he was carrying. It was his own mind and his desire of using it. And that cannot be controlled by federal law. So maybe the cleverest political and social minds of our time should argue this.

And now this is the moment when my first question comes back. How is he different?. Anyone who can provide a valid answer for this question will get us closer to a solution. To a better society, to put it in 'poetry words'

Or have we already given up on this? Don't we believe this can be reversed? Aren't we willing to change this? If that's the case, we are victims of April 16th Virginia, and many other school shootings before. And we are far much more than 32 people.

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