Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Say a prayer for Virginia Tech

I’ll try to keep this short, since I should really be sleeping, but I just wanted to mention that my heart goes out to the victims and the families of all the people wounded or killed in Blacksburg yesterday. I haven’t read what the rest of the blogosphere has said on this matter. Even before I was a dad I didn’t have time for political blogs, and people who spin tragedies for their own agendas piss me off. But I will say this:

There has been some questioning, at least in the Australian media, about the the shooter. In many of these cases, there is a lot of interest in the criminal- his motives, his upbringing, his personality. The media, and possibly the public, seems to have a lot of questions about these sorts of people.

These questions do not have interesting answers.

The short answer is that the people who commit murder are losers. People with emotional maturity and deep character- interesting people- adapt and survive instead of killing people. A few years ago, I was talking to a friend of mine who is a professor of criminal law, and who researches murder cases for a living. He pointed out that in most of the cases he studied, the victims were more interesting than the perpetrators. But you don’t need to talk to professors to know this; a bestselling Australian author has reached the same conclusion.

Joe Cinque was the victim of the Australian National University’s most famous murder case. Back in the drug-addled good-old-days of the mid 90’s, a few bright, young, anti-conservative law students had a party where they discussed whether or not they were good enough at their chosen field to beat a murder rap. Two of these students proceeded to test the hypothetical, by drugging then poisoning one of their boyfriends.

Both students beat the murder charge; the girlfriend of the victim got manslaughter, and her accomplice walked out of court a free woman. Author Helen Garner spent 5 years researching the case and writing the book. In the process, she found that even though the murderers were some of the most ambitious, intelligent young minds the country had to offer, their emotional immaturity and selfishness actually made them far less interesting than the victim, Mr. Cinque. The book is Joe Cinque’s Consolation, and is available here.

So if the TV talking heads and radio chatbackers are incessantly speculating about the Va Tech murderer, simply turn it off and read Ms. Garner’s book. By the time you finish it, some of the bereaved from this latest tragedy may be wanting to share their stories, and the stories of the victims will almost certainly be more interesting and moving than those of the assailant.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Wonderful post, Lemming.