Like most Americans, I have been following the news about the shootings at Virginia Tech. I don't know anyone who attends Virginia Tech so I am not personally affected by this particular incident. Still, it scares the heck out of me because there is nothing unique about Virginia Tech that would make it more likely for this kind of carnage to occur. It could be University of Any State, or Small Town High, as we all know. I can't really think to myself "It won't happen to me", because while unlikely, it could. In fact, it has happened in my home town, but at the Post Office, not at a school.
What is this "It"? We as Americans really need to get a handle on what "It" is, because "It" appears far too often for us to pass off as an anomaly. Is it the guns? Even though I am not a big fan of guns, I really don't think we can put the blame on them. Should we blame the parents? That's another easy option, but so far I haven't read anything about the boy's parents that I could point a finger at and say "If they had done XYZ, this would never have happened".
The parents were Korean immigrants who most likely were working their rear-ends off to try to provide their son with a better life. I suspect they were strict and expected their son to work hard, go to college and make something of himself; at least that has usually been the case amongst recent immigrant families I have known. They missed the fact that their son was seriously disturbed, or maybe they didn't but didn't have the knowledge or tools to do something about it. Why would they, we as a society don't either. I know it was not that they didn't care. (I have heard that they committed suicide, or attempted it, which isn't really surprising given the magnitude of this tragedy. - Apparently this has appeared in Korean newspapers, but I do not know this to be fact.)
The fact remains that this kid was seriously sick in the head, and many people were aware of it. Sure, he might have been an evil person, but I don't think that is all there is to it. You can be evil till the cows come home and still have enough sense to not buy a gun and shoot 32 people over some stupid unrequited love situation. An evil person would try to get away with it, this kid shot himself. He was mentally ill, and needed to be in treatment, at a hospital, where he should have stayed until he was better.
We need to think about what "mentally ill" means. It means your brain is sick and is not functioning right. It can't be expected to carry out its normal functions properly, just as you can't expect the body to produce insulin (a normal function) when it has diabetes. Telling this kid to get counseling is like expecting a quadriplegic to exercise more to increase muscle strength. It isn't going to happen without help.
I also think that nobody should be able to buy a firearm unless they have two "sponsors". By this I mean that the purchaser must show that two different people have knowledge that they are buying a weapon. These two people will fill out a form that describes how they know the person, and whether there is any reason they feel said person should NOT have a gun. Yes it is an inconvenience, but I think Cho Seung-Hui would've had a hard time finding those two people.