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Choo-Cho media train

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2007

Updated: Monday, February 2, 2009 12:02

What's more tragic than the Virginia Tech Shooting is the mainstream media's coverage of it. Major news networks have yet again established their incapability to faithfully follow a news story - or at the least, they've shown they don't know when to shut up.

In the days following the shooting, the major news networks scrambled to assemble an entourage of vast and often irrelevant "experts" to inexpensively fill time on their broadcasts. They've questioned countless pop psychologists over "what makes a good kid go bad?" They've questioned the president of the university about why this could happen. They've questioned the town mayor, the students who survived the attack, the killer's roommates - everyone.

The only person they can't question is the shooter, Cho Seung-Hui. Nobody can blame a dead man; it's not good for ratings. Instead, the witch hunt is underway.

Some on TV claimed Seung-Hui's professors should have seen the warning signs. They claim Cho's English professor should have kicked the future shooter out of class after he shared his dark and perhaps disturbing compositions in class. They blamed students and teachers for not blowing the whistle. Others go as far to claim male students present during the shooting should have been more aggressive in stopping Cho.

What professor would kick a student out for a poem, and what unarmed person would try to stop a man with two guns?

Of course, the insatiable appetite of an audience seeking a scapegoat drives this pitch-forked mass media machine. People tend to want an individual or organization upon which to place all burden. Maybe we think by blaming and condemning them, we can make the problem go away. If we just fix that one problem, we can fix it so this never happens again. It's not that easy. We must accept the simple reality that there are psychotic, and perhaps evil, people in this world who, when unchecked, will do terrible things. That's not the fault of a professor, a police chief or a fellow student.

Maybe The IC staff is just as guilty of beating a dead horse by writing this editorial. The attack was, after all, 10 days ago. But this isn't so much a response to the shooting itself as it is to the continuing search for who to blame, and that witch hunt didn't end last week - it happened yesterday, today and will probably continue tomorrow.

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