Sunday, April 22, 2007

Why didn't anyone fight back at Virginia Tech?

One gunman…a whole campus of students, why didn’t anyone fight back??? According to news reports that I have seen, at one point Cho Seung Hui lined students up against a wall and one by one began shooting them execution style. This is just mind boggling to me that this could happen. Why didn’t some of these students fight back? How does one single gunman line people up against a wall, start shooting them one by one, without the whole group turning on him?

It seams to me you have a choice. Try to rush the shooter and take his gun, or stand there and wait to be shot. I just can not comprehend the failure to act in this situation.
Mark Steyn, a brilliant columnist, wrote a column titled "A Culture of Passivity." If you're interested you can just click on this link and read away. I will share a few lines from the Steyn column in red along with my thoughts:

On Monday night, Geraldo was all over Fox News saying we have to accept that, in this horrible world we live in, our “children” need to be “protected.”

They’re not “children.” The students at Virginia Tech were grown women and — if you’ll forgive the expression — men. They would be regarded as adults by any other society in the history of our planet.

We should be raising them to understand that there will be moments in life when you need to protect yourself — and, in a “horrible” world, there may come moments when you have to choose between protecting yourself or others. It is a poor reflection on us that, in those first critical seconds where one has to make a decision, only an elderly Holocaust survivor, Professor Librescu, understood instinctively the obligation to act.

Librescu understood instinctively the obligation to react because he understands the consequences of not reacting. People, such as war veterans, former POWs, hostage survivors more than likely understand that the first seconds in this kind of crisis is critical for the outcome and welfare of the group as a whole. They also understand that one must take care of himself and others around them instead of waiting on someone else to protect them.

We do our children a disservice to raise them to entrust all to officialdom’s security blanket. Geraldo-like “protection” is a delusion: when something goes awry — whether on a September morning flight out of Logan or on a peaceful college campus — the state won’t be there to protect you. You’ll be the fellow on the scene who has to make the decision. As my distinguished compatriot Kathy Shaidle says:

When we say “we don’t know what we’d do under the same circumstances”, we make cowardice the default position.

I’d prefer to say that the default position is a terrible enervating passivity. Murderous misfit loners are mercifully rare. But this awful corrosive passivity is far more pervasive, and, unlike the psycho killer, is an existential threat to a functioning society.

Perhaps Steyn is right. Maybe we have produced a culture of passivity. Public schools across the country do not even allow self defense without punishment. Students in a public school who uses physical force in self defense on school grounds is punished at the same level as the aggressor. How dare anyone actually fight back! Who was the expert that came up with this nonsense?

In this we teach our children that there is something wrong with acting to defend yourself. Is it not possible this lesson can be carried into adulthood?

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