Monday, April 23, 2007

He Was Crazy, They Were Dumb

These are the responses to my April 20th, article, "We Revisit The Virginia Tech massacre. The Closer You Look, The Worse it Gets", please continue to provide us with your feedback


  1. Carol & Perry11:58 AM

    Henry, we cannot tell you how strongly we support this column. We are assuming you read Madness In the Streets, which was denounced as a loathsome right wing diatribe but clearly described how we abandoned the mentally ill to live and die on the streets because that was "their decision." (If you haven't read it, go to Amazon. com and buy it pronto.) Anyway, we know we are responsible for our actions, and that someone, somewhere should sue the bureaucratic dopes at Virginia Tech who knew they had a problem but left this terribly ill child to his (and every one else's) doom. Or maybe we could just fire them all. Thank you for your outrage.

  2. Margaret11:59 AM

    This is a wonderful article, Henry. Thank you.
    Two comments come immediately to mind. You write, " 'Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.' Why don’t the anti-gun forces think up some powerful slogans?" Well, one angry and sarcastic one is, "How difficult would it be to stab 32 people to death before you're overpowered?"

    And perhaps we should put in a good word for his college professors and lecturers who recognised the danger, if not specifically of course, but in general terms, and tried hard but successfully to get offical remedies from the college administrators. They did what little they could without having the authority to expel the young man from the college. Some colleges have indeed expelled students for bizarre behaviour that pales in comparison to the weirdness that was seen in Cho's actions.

    Thank you again for the article.

  3. Maybe one in a thousand mentally ill people hurt somebody else. Shrinks notoriously cannot predict which will. Would you hospitalize them all?

  4. Starquest- as a member of the mental health profession
    who has worked in an HHC facility on an acute
    inpatient psychiatric unit with adults, I had mixed
    reactions to your article today. On the one hand, I
    am outraged that this guy was allowed to do what he
    did. At the same time, I don't think that we can
    judge what the mental health practitioners did or
    didn't do. I can say that it is a lot more difficult
    to keep someone even if they may seem "dangerous" if
    they don't demonstrate that behavior and refuse
    treatment. The legal system is set up to protect
    individuals from being wrongfully committed. Thus, a
    person like this young man can slip through the
    cracks; I could envision him refusing medication,
    refusing treatment, denying that he is ill in any way
    and then being released by a judge's order because he
    is not demonstrating harmful behavior at that time
    (I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with the laws, simply
    telling you what my experience has been). With this
    said, I don't know all the details of the attempts to
    engage him (against his will no doubt) in treatment on
    an inpatient or outpatient basis. I just wanted to
    clarify that although he was considered dangerous to
    his peers and instructors, if he is not willing to
    engage in treatment even well-intentioned and
    competent professionals are not going to be able to do
    much, let alone incompetent ones.

  5. Classie12:15 PM

    Mr. Stern,

    You are right all the way.

    Thanks for voicing what I was thinking. Keep on writing the truth.

  6. Martin1:35 PM

    This is a very strong follow-up to your original piece. We can fool around with gun control for the next 25 years -- but reordering the way we 'see and treat' those who are clearly living in disorder can be done now with small steps and especially in such closed societies as a college campus. I think the next steps -- will bring nothing new because this public today is inured to violence, to madness, ignorance, stupidity and any other malady or public event that causes us to stop and think. We do not want to stop and anybody under 45 simply does not know how to think.

  7. Rey Olsen1:36 PM

    Your analysis is on-point. University presidents and administrators seem to feel they can do no wrong. Just look at Duke and its President. He cancelled the lacrosse season, fired the team coach, and suspended 2 students--based only on allegations. A committee of 88 professors spoke out against the defendants without ever hearing from them. Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence?

    Now the N.C. State Attorney General says that the defendants are innocent. Brodhead should resign, as should Steger. The students deserve better.