Oh my God. In my post yesterday I bemoaned that no one had tried to do much about the VTech killer's obvious mental illness. How very sadly wrong I was. Read http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/19/us/19gunman.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin if you don't know already. Living here in the UK, I'm not able to watch NBC.
So now we have two problems: a sad lack of gun control and an inability to share and follow up information about the dangerous mental state of a student.
What's not being written about yet (that I've seen at least) is what did his parents know and what did they try to do about it? If I'd known the campus police (who always seem to be useless) had tried to have my son involuntarily committed, I think I might take some action myself. Did they bury their heads in the sand? Did they not have any contact with him? Did they try but fail to have him committed as well? Were they afraid of bringing any attention to their son's problems because of their immigrant status? I'll have to trawl the newspaper websites. Maybe the answers to these questions are out there.
OK, I've now checked and the answers are out there. And they are disturbing. Universities can't tell parents if students have suicidal thoughts or have been referred to counselling without the student's permission. Does that let his parents off the hook? Would they not have noticed anything odd or different about their son? Were they too busy working? Didn't we go through all this with the Columbine parents? And should parents have to bear some responsibility for the insane and criminal actions of their children? I don't know. My gut reaction is the parents must have some inkling that something is not quite right with their child. But hindsight is always 20/20. I'm trying to put myself in Cho's parents' place. The horror of knowing their son committed a heinous crime, the grief for the loss of that son, the shame, the guilt, the recriminations.
It's all too much.