Friday, April 20, 2007

Krauthammer et. al on the Massacre at VT and on Obama

The incisive Charles Krauthammer, himself a psychiatrist, weighs in on the mass murder at Virginia Tech and Barak Obama's unprincipled and largely inarticulate portrayal of the tragedy as having some relationship with other evils he sees in the world.

What can be said about the Virginia Tech massacre? Very little. What should be said? Even less. The lives of 32 innocents, chosen randomly and without purpose, are extinguished most brutally by a deeply disturbed gunman. With an event such as this, consisting of nothing but suffering and tragedy, the only important questions are those of theodicy, of divine justice. Unfortunately, in today's supercharged political atmosphere, there is the inevitable rush to get ideological mileage out of the carnage.

. . . If we are going to look for a political issue here, the more relevant is not gun control but psychosis control. We decided a half a century ago that our more eccentric and, indeed, crazy fellow citizens would not be easily locked in asylums. It was a humane decision, but with the inevitable consequence that some who really need quarantine are allowed to roam the streets.

It turns out that Cho's psychiatric impairment had been evident to many. . . .

In a previous age, such a troubled soul might have found himself at the state mental hospital rather than a state university. But in a trade-off that a decent and tolerant society makes with open eyes, we allow freedom from straitjackets to those on the psychic edge, knowing that such tolerance runs a very rare but very terrible risk.

It is inevitable, I suppose, that advocates of one social policy or another will try to use the Virginia Tech massacre to their advantage. But it is simply dismaying that a serious presidential candidate should use it as the ideological frame for his set-piece issues.

. . . Barack Obama made [a speech] in Milwaukee just hours after the massacre. It must be heard to be believed. After deploring and expressing grief about the shootings, he continues (my transcription): "I hope that it causes us to reflect a little bit more broadly on the degree to which we do accept violence in various forms. . . . There's also another kind of violence . . . it's not necessarily physical violence."

What kinds does he have in mind? First, "Imus and the verbal violence that was directed at young women [of Rutgers]. . . . For them to be degraded . . . that's a form of violence. It may be quiet. It may not surface to the same level of the tragedy we read about today and we mourn." Good to know that Don Imus's "violence" does not quite rise to the level of Cho's.

Second, outsourcing. Yes, outsourcing: "the violence of men and women who . . . suddenly have the rug pulled out from under them because their job has moved to another country."

Obama then cites bad schools and bad neighborhoods as forms of violence, before finishing with, for good measure, Darfur -- accusing America of conducting "foreign policy as if the children in Darfur are somehow less than the children here, and so we tolerate violence there." Is Obama, who proudly opposed overthrowing the premier mass murderer of our time, Saddam Hussein, suggesting an invasion of Sudan?

Who knows. This whole exercise in defining violence down to include shock-jock taunts and outsourcing would normally be mere intellectual slovenliness. Doing so in the shadow of the murder of 32 innocents still unburied is tasteless, bordering on the sacrilegious. . . .
Read the entire article here. As I have said in other posts, our heart goes out to the those killed and injured by Cho, and to their families and loved ones.

You will find Obama's speech here. For my part, I have long believed Obama to be little more then a well spoken media construct. His core ideas on labor, economic and foreign policy issues do not seem to withstand the light of scrutiny. His speech in the wake of the massacre only adds to my belief that, while Obama may be a presentable candidate, he is a superficial one whose chances of ascending to the presidency absent a tremendous push by the MSM are nil.

As Ann Althouse comments:

Am I offended that Obama reframes his usual material with the Virginia Tech story? He had a speech to give that day, and it would not have worked to omit the subject. Plenty of other people went out of their way to use the massacre to promote their favorite issues -- notably gun control.

What really struck me about that audio clip though was what a gasbag Obama is. I hear a tired-sounding man, who rambles on and on. I know he's speaking before a group. I hear them respond now and then, when he mentions that Iraq is a war that should never have been waged and when he says teachers deserve higher pay. But if I didn't know who he was and that there was a crowd there, I would picture an old man slumped in an armchair, expatiating for the benefit of anyone unlucky enough to be within earshot. It's formless stream of consciousness. Oh, there is that theme of hope.

H/T: Instapundit

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