No, not again, how can this possibly be? It is too hard to grasp and nobody can actually explain why a very dark cloud suddenly reigns over Blacksburg, VA wrecking havoc with the most unimaginable tragedies. It is almost as if these tragedies happen in a routine pattern desperately trying to break the spirit of the Hokies.
It all started with a seriously troubled and delinquent Cho Seung Hui, a Virginia Tech (VT) student who massacred 32 people with a 9mm and .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol. Then in January 2009, VT student Xin Yang had her head slowly cut off with a kitchen knife at the Au Bon Pain student café. The culprit was none other than her fellow student and close friend Haiyang Zhu. This shocking news had VT reliving the mass nightmare that happened on April 16, 2007.
“Once again we are challenged as a community to offer support to one another as we process this recent event. Once again we will rise to the occasion,” VT President Charles Steger said in a public address.
Active Campus Crusade for Christ students Heidi Childs, 18, and David Metzler, 19, are now the latest victims of the unfortunate events that have struck heartache once again in VT.
They were shot to death 15 miles from campus at the Jefferson National Forest according to a police report. Adding insult to injury, investigators also claimed that the shooting was random and no suspects had been named according to an article from the Roanoke Times.
Recently, some friends of mine told me that VT is a terrible place and is cursed. They blamed security for the mass shooting and speculated that a lot of VT students must have an urgent concern for their safety now. I don’t blame my friends for saying such things. I also thought that VT was a haven for tragedy and that it had some major security issues.
However, I realized the tragic events have nothing to do with security actually. I believe these tragedies stem from individual cases of deteriorating mental health.
Cho Seung Hui was a ticking bomb waiting to go off during his time at VT. It was inevitable the mental wires in his head short-fused.
Fellow students and professors from the VT English Department were aware of Cho’s sinister and anti-social behavior. They also noticed the overly dark and violent material evident in his work.
“Cho, who has been described by classmates and teachers as brooding, withdrawn and silent, also left a rambling, angry, multi-page document in his dorm room. He wrote at least one bomb threat that police found, as well as a novel and some disturbing poems and plays,” according to an article from the Washington Post.
In addition to that, Cho had to undergo mental health counseling for his disturbing plays and the reported cases of stalking two girls against him. Don’t forget the infamous video he sent to NBC. Cho tried to justify his motive for killing by depicting himself as a modern martyr. With the image of a pistol in each hand held high serving as his instruments of judgment. Somewhere along those lines, it is clear Cho had been mentally unstable for a long time.
I’m also certain that Haiyang Zhu must have lost it big time when he decapitated Xin Yang. Zhu wrote on a Chinese-language blog that he had been so frustrated over stock losses and other problems that he contemplated suicide or murdering someone according to Sky News. So frustrated, that he hacked off Yang’s head with a kitchen knife. If that’s not mentally twisted, I don’t know what is.
Now someone has murdered Childs and Metzler, two people who devoted their lives to follow Christ and tried to make a difference in other people’s lives at VT. They were good kids and the death of this innocent couple is hard to fathom.
VT was unlucky to suffer at the hands of normal individuals who became mentally unstable and were a danger to society. Therefore, security is not at total fault and can’t be necessarily blamed. In fact,
“Many colleges and universities in California, and around the nation, are forcefully tackling issues of security and mental health during summer orientation seminars and greet-the-frosh gatherings with parents and new students before regular classes begin.” The LA Times reported.
Most colleges and universities now have new emergency notification systems such as the text-based notifications Liberty faculty and students receive on their cell phones and e-mail. They also offer extensive mental health and counseling programs.
On a higher note, VT are reunited more than ever, people continue to show support for one another and are doing everything they can to help its student body recover from these horrific tragedies. My condolences and prayers go out to the Childs and Metzler family.