Thursday, April 19, 2007

Evil Is Bestride The World, Often Religion-Based

This has been a terrible week, and by no means all of the evil occurrences were at Virginia Tech University, where a monster who should have been expelled from the school and committed to a mental institution long ago shot to death 32 students and faculty and sent a written message and videos to national television boasting of his crimes.

These are some of the other events of the week, all apparently relating to Muslim religious fanaticism.

--In Turkey, three evangelicals, two Turks and a German, were found dead with their throats slit, apparently because they were printing Bibles and other Christian literature at a publishing house. Turkey committed genocide in murdering more than a million Armenian Christians in World War I, and has never apologized. Now, in the last year, several priests or other Christians have been murdered there with little prosecution. And this is a country which, outrageously, wants to be admitted to the European Union. It must clean up its act, first.

--In Iran, the country's "Supreme Court," a nefarious organization where justice is unknown, overturned the convictions of six members of a militia who murdered five people because they considered them morally "corrupt." In one instance, a young couple engaged to be married were murdered, because they were observed walking together in violation of Muslim strictures against contact between unmarried men and women. The killings followed a ruling by a senior Muslim cleric in 2002 that anyone could murder someone they considered morally corrupt, if the law did not step in first.

--In Iraq, on a day following one in which nearly 200 people were killed in sectarian bombings by Sunnis against Shiites, Al Qaeda operatives lined up 20 people they had kidnapped the day before and shot each of them in the back of the head. Al Qaeda is an organization of fascist Muslim fundamentalists which has threatened the whole world and has been responsible for killing thousands of other Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, and thousands of members of all religions, not to mention atheists, in New York, Washington, Madrid, London and elsewhere.

--In Gaza, where Al Qaeda-linked kidnappers of a BBC reporter sent a message out over the weekend saying they had killed him, the so-called Palestinian president, the cowardly wastrel Mahmoud Abbas, issued a statement saying the reporter, Alan Johnston, was still alive and he knew where he was being held. But Abbas, the responsible authority, seems to have done nothing to attempt to free Johnston, nor has he fulfilled repeated pledges that kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit would be released. He and his Palestinian Authority are complicit in these crimes.

So it is not only Virginia Tech, where there have been heinous acts committed this week, in that case by a man of uncertain religion who compared himself to Jesus Christ and carried an "Ismail X" insignia on his arm.

That's just this week. Last week, there were attacks in Algeria and Morocco by suicide bombers that took many lives, and every week, there are terrible acts being committed that the world can ill afford to tolerate.

One issue raised this morning, in a New York Times Op Ed page article by Barbara Oakley, an engineering professor at Oakland University, in Michigan, who has authored a forthcoming book entitled: "Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed and My Sister Stole My Mother's Boy Friend," is why Virginia Tech did not get rid of its killer long ago.

After all, this personification of evil had stalked women, disrupted classes, acted in bizarre fashion toward students and teachers and, finally, armed himself with deadly weapons. Oakley suggests that schools like Virginia Tech allow their fear of lawsuits to overwhelm any desire to protect other students.

I can just see the lawyers for Virginia Tech counseling, "If we expel Cho, he may sue us." So, unchecked, he ended up killing 32 students and faculty.

The New York Times published a story on Page 1 today suggesting that in many cases, present state laws tie the hands of schools which might desire to get rid of disturbed people. If so, those laws need to be changed. We have to go back of Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes, who once said that freedom of speech does not entail the right to yell fire in a crowded theatre. Those who cause panic or behave abominably have no place on a college campus, and the good of the great majority of law-abiding students must prevail.

Similarly, there are a few suggestions being made that if only his classmates had been more friendly to Cho, this would not have happened. This is baloney after it has been left outdoors several days. No amount of kindly understanding would have stopped this fellow.

Some years ago, mainly I think to save money, many states scaled back their mental institutions, and suggested outpatient care would suffice for many of the mentally disturbed. That pendulum probably swung too far, and more people, not a large number but some, should be locked up until their conditions improve, if they ever do.

Evil will prevail when good men and women do nothing or too little. And that is what is happening in the world today. There is insufficient resistance against people, religions, forces, that are tearing the world apart, and much worse may lie ahead once these people obtain weapons of mass destruction.

--

I can understand why NBC chose to broadcast small parts of Cho's statements which he mailed to them, after properly handing the whole outrageous mailing to the FBI. But I also understand the Virginia Tech parents and students who refused to appear on NBC's Today program this morning, because they were outraged at seeing these images. NBC decided to cut back on its coverage, with Today hosts explaining that there had been division in the newsroom over showing them at all. Fox News decided, after 12 hours, not to show any more of them. The fact is, if we never hear any more from Cho, it will be too soon.

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