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April 17, 2007

Shaming and blaming Va-Tech victims and their co-ed dorms

Oh, look...The chickenhawks are pecking at the Va-Tech victims.

John Derbyshire:

As NRO's designated chickenhawk, let me be the one to ask: Where was the spirit of self-defense here? Setting aside the ludicrous campus ban on licensed conceals, why didn't anyone rush the guy? It's not like this was Rambo, hosing the place down with automatic weapons. He had two handguns for  goodness' sake—one of them reportedly a .22.
At the very least, count the shots and jump him reloading or changing hands. Better yet, just jump him. Handguns aren't very accurate, even at close range. I shoot mine all the time at the range, and I still can't hit squat. I doubt this guy was any better than I am. And even if hit, a .22 needs to find something important to do real damage—your chances aren't bad.

Yes, yes, I know it's easy to say these things: but didn't the heroes of Flight 93 teach us anything? As the cliche goes—and like most cliches. It's true—none of us knows what he'd do in a dire situation like that. I hope, however, that if I thought I was going to die anyway, I'd at least take a run at the guy.  [NRO]   

Nathanael Blake:

College classrooms have scads of young men who are at their physical peak, and none of them seems to have done anything beyond ducking, running, and holding doors shut. Meanwhile, an old man hurled his body at the shooter to save others.

Something is clearly wrong with the men in our culture. Among the first rules of manliness are fighting bad guys and protecting others: in a word, courage. And not a one of the healthy young fellows in the classrooms seems to have done that. [Human Events]

[Via Think Progress.]

I knew it wouldn't be long before some wingnut blamed the co-ed dorm. Carol Iannone:

And I'm sorry, some will really think me foolish, but I don't think dorms should be co-ed, so that crazed, jealous boyfriends can enter their girlfriends' dorms and kill them and the innocent young men who come to their aid.  If it had been a single-sex dorm, the killer might not have been able to enter so readily.  There aren't enough difficulties getting young people through college these days so that we have to deal with "domestic disputes" in their dormitories as well? 

And, sorry again, but thoughts also arise on the killer's being an English major and on the spiritual emptiness of much education nowadays.  [NRO]

Other suspects fingered by wingnuts: evolution and atheism and crypto-Islamic terrorism by gun-hating Asian immigrants. That and our failure to put weird people under preemptive surveillance...


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Maybe we can all pitch in and buy Derbyshire a subscription to Internet Tough Guy Magazine.

Either that, or someone needs to pull a Fight Club/empty chamber trick on him and youtube his tear-streaked face.

Also...when did a college campus become an airplane? And when did the students hear from the ground that two other classrooms had already been flown into buildings?

Vile comments indeed. And nearly identical to comments made by Michael Moore made in January 2003mocking the passengers on the hijacked planes of September 11 as "scaredy cats"

So, why aren't these fine specimens of man- and woman-hood enlisting in the Armed Forces? Getting their friends to? We need more folks fighting for democracy in Iraq, not badmouthing dead people for getting themselves killed.

P.s. Phantom-- why can't we find that purported story about Michael Moore anywhere except that one news source? I Googled it and didn't find that exact story anywhere else. Another right-wing lie... er, talking point?

And, of course, what better time to bring gun control into focus?? These people can't even be fully cold, yet. This is like Sept. 11, 2001 when they had the Patriot Act in hand, already. Sickening.

The Phantom -

A difference is that we have the full text of these right-wingers on alleged causes of the killings at Virginia Tech.

We don't have the full text (or even a full sentence) of Michael Moore calling passengers of the hijacked planes of September 11, 2001 "scaredy cats."

Yeah, you gotta watch out for those English majors. Wait... what?


One of the things that amazes me is how much people know, or think they know, about what happened at Virginia Tech. This is how myths and misinformation get spread. Chances are, half of what we think we know is wrong. Just give it a rest, people.

Not good focusing on chickenhawks and wingnuts with respect to this issue. Bouncing off the walls with a bad adrenaline rush will bring neither peace nor comfort. There needs to be more understanding about depression and underlying psychological disorders for this debate to be meaningful. I have shared the foregoing comments elsewhere; let me share them here.

Day Two brings to light some facts about the shooter: A quiet loner who spoke angry words about “debauchery” and “charlatans,” submitted disturbing papers to class, and was referred to the school counseling center and treated for depression.

The “quiet loner” is certainly no surprise; it fits the profile of a random shooter. The history of depression is interesting but misleading. Let me explain:

It is often said that aggression and depression are two sides of the same coin. When aggression is turned inward and has no other means of escape or expression, it results in depression. In other words, depression has a component of suppressed anger and rage. Extreme anger would cycle into depression but, in this case, depression would not be considered the primary Axis I disorder; it would be secondary. Acts of rage or suicide do not occur during depressive lows; subjects are usually too immobilized by depression to act. Violent behaviors occur, not at the bottom, but during the upswing when the subject cycles towards a more normal mood. In this case, depression would be considered a “feature” of a primary disorder. If not depression, what would be the most likely primary disorder driving this behavior?

Bipolar, personality, and schizophrenic disorders have been mentioned. Bipolar I and II disorders have features of depression and hypermanic/hypomanic states, but rarely would these result in violence towards others. The expansive moods of Bipolar I and II lack the rage component. Schizophrenic disorders are driven by delusions or hallucinations, sometimes violent, but lacking the component of rage. Assuming the Vtech shooter visited the counseling center, it may be inferred (but not necessarily) that signs and symptoms of a bipolar or schizophrenic disorder were not observed.

That leaves the personality disorders as remaining candidates. Features of grandiosity, all-or-nothing thinking, depression, rage following abandonment, and a tendency to lash out characterize some of these disorders. These would be reasonable guesses.

A closing thought on the use of anti-depressants: These treat merely a symptom, not the primary disorder itself. Consider the controversy surrounding Prozac and other anti-depressants: once the depressed mood lifts, the subject is less immobilized and more likely to act aggressively. In other words, treatment with antidepressives alone treats a symptom but not the primary condition. Food for thought.


Anyone who read a variety of papers in 2003 would have seen this story. I read it in the Independent at the time.

The Independent is a major paper in England. This is the link to the original story in that newspaper. That link has expired, but if you really question the validity of the quote, call the Independent tomorrow and ask them if they can verify it. The Independent is left-leaning, but honest.

The story was reprinted in many major newspapers in the US and worldwide. And Moore, who has a rapid response to most criticism, never denied the story.


Read a reference to the original article from its
author,printed in the same newspaper that the original article appeared in. Convinced?

What did Michael Moore say about VT exactly? Oh that's right, nothing!

"Count the shots and jump him reloading." LOL. These guys really have watched too many movies. With bullets bouncing around, people screaming, someone is going to be able to count the shots? And also know how many bullets are in the magazine? You know, because most college students have an encyclopedic knowledge of guns.

Everyone with an agenda takes every incident and turns it into their personal crusade. Over at Feministe this is apparently about male priviledge and misogyny. To some people it's about having more guns, or less guns, or crazed Muslims, or our weak educational system, or about English majors or engineering majors or sheep-like students or video games.

What a surprise. The people who always blame video games are blaming video games. The people that blame male priviledge for everything are beating that drum. The people that want everyone to carry guns can't wait to point out that some deadeye student could have taken the shooter out.

Unbelievable yet totally expected. At least wait until the bodies are cold before making this about some pet cause.

Phantom, while I'm as shocked as anyone that Michael Moore has been caught in possession of a less-than-totally-grounded statement, don't you think there's a wee bit of a difference between a statement made as political commentary (on the website of one of the most prominent conservative publications, a mere day after the tragedy, etc.) and a statement made in a freaking stand-up routine?

No, PersonMan you too are wrong. Moore didn't say much on yesterday's massacre, but he did say something. It's on his website.

Some stand-up routine. Like Billy Connolly's "joke" about soon to be beheaded hostage Kenneth Bigley. Less than totally grounded.

Ha ha.

I just checked Michael Moore's site, and indeed, he is calling all the murdered students cowards.

Additionally, he is saying that if some crazy man came into his classroom at nine in the morning with a 9MM glock, he would have kicked his ass with some leftover chopsticks...or at least tried to.

Oh wait, that's the NRO I was reading.

"The events of yesterday at Virginia Tech represent a terrible national tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with the family members, survivors and the entire Virginia Tech community."
-- Michael Moore

But you aren't reacting to what Moore said about VT PhantomMan, you are bringing up a 6 year old quote - why? Is anyone here defending that quote?

Why do we give a shit right now about what Moore said 6 years ago? What's your point, that liberals sometimes say atrocious things? Thanks for pointing that out, nobody here realized that I'm sure.

Even if we wanted to discuss his quote, which is wholly irrelevant, you haven't even given it to us - you gave us a bad link and told us to make phone calls. Please.

Phantom spreads moore bullshit. I know, big shocker. Film at 11.


He said it about 4 years and 3 months ago. And it is exactly analogous to what these two knuckleheads are quoted on today--innocent people attacked by those with murderous intent, others chickenhawks or, in the case of Michael Moore chickenchickens, attack the victims for not fighting back sufficiently. It is an exact comparison.

No, noone here defended the quote, as y'all were too busy saying that he didn't say it, then when I proved that he did say it (hey dejah, anything to say? Want to write to the author, whose e-mail address is right on the article? ) , then the words became irrelevant because they could no longer be denied.

Ha ha ha...yes you "proved" that he said it be providing a broken link and asking us to call someone - that is certainly undeniable proof.

That said, if he did say it - so what? What is your point? What he said was wrong, what these guys are saying is wrong too.

Are you going someplace with this?

"Hay guyz...a caveman once killed 50 cavepeople by bonking them on the head with a brontosaurus femur - how come nobody is talking about that?!?"

Well, my link works, dammit.

I saw Moore's stage show (which is the only reason I'm writing this; I have local knowledge), and he emphatically did not "mock the Sept 11 passengers as scaredy-cats". He was trying to make a point about the docility of the middle classes, and about the fact that middle class people tend to expect others to do uncomfortable jobs for them...He also made a rather moving tribute to the white middle class passengers on Flight 93... Only a columnist as unremittingly stupid as Yasmin Alibhai-Brown could have interpreted it in the way she did

And yes, throwing out yet another a "Michael Moore is fat, therefore youse libruls are hypocrites" herring is gobsmackingly beside the point and bringing it up in this context is quite offensive.


I'll choose to believe Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, who was there, as this unknown source you link to says he was. Alibbai-Brown by the way is Muslim and furiously anti-war. She had nothing to reporting this, seen by some as breaking ranks.

And not for nothing- the furiously talkative and combatative Moore never denied saying this. Only Sven's blogger friend seems to have denied it.

Life's too short for more of this. Night, all.

--nothing to gain by reporting this, seen by some as breaking ranks.

I'm tempted to write Yasmin Alibhai-Brown myself to get her to confirm the quote and article, but if I did Sven would probably just write to another unknown roadie or whoever to get a rebuttal. I'll invite anyone genuinely curious about the matter to do so himself/herself.

Dejah, you are nominated. Don't let me down.

I am really disturbed by anyone using this tragedy to make any kind of political point. To use a tragedy of this proportion as a jumping off point for one's own political agenda a mere day after it has happened strikes me as narcissistic. It's a way of inserting one's self into the events, or worse yet, making the event about oneself rather than the people involved. The disrespectful and uncompassionate implication is "my personal opinion on terrorism/gun control/whatever is more important than your real life tragedy." After a respectful time has passed, at least a few days, then any social issues implicated by these events can be raised. My condolences go to families of those affected and the Va Tech community. I hope they can ignore the circling vultures and find some healing.

I was thinking the same thing!!! How could no one have stopped this ONE guy! He got all the way from the dorms to the other end of the campus (a 2 mile distance) WITHOUT BEING STOPPED!!!!! Where was the campus security! Who was watching him on the security cameras?! Why weren't students and teachers told to not come to school after the first shooting!

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