It's the new Columbine: V-Tech. Thirty-two killed in the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. Everywhere people will be talking -- what caused it, why wasn't it stopped, how can we stop it next time. And, even more, they'll be talking about Cho Seung-Hui. What made him do it? Why was he so ignored? How do we prevent another from emerging ever, ever again?
Guaranteed, everyone will have their own ideas. As you probably suspected, I have an idea, too. I doubt that you'll hear it anywhere else: Don't talk about him.
I do not mean don't talk about the victims. By all means, talk about them. Remember them. Grieve for them. And by all means, talk about what happened. Talk about how to stop another one from happening. Talk about the college, the culture, the administrators, and their perceived or actual faults. Blog. Broadcast. Publish. E-mail. Text-message. Write a letter. Hire a skywriter. Send smoke signals. Drag out the talking drums. Do whatever you do to spread the news.
But don't talk about him.
It's only human nature to talk, just as it is only human nature to focus on the exceptions, the wackos who plant bombs, write threatening letters, or commit mass murder. Seung-Hui was, as they say in nightly news specials, a "deeply troubled young man." He was also a raging, psychopathic narcissist. He wanted attention. Heck, he even sent a package of photos and videos to NBC, guaranteeing a spot on the news.
Now he got what he wanted. Headlines, TV coverage, editorials. Even TIME magazine has a special issue on him. Now the big question: Does he deserve it? I don't think so.
So why give in? Why put another psycho on another pedestal? Why make another Harris, another Klebold, for another angry teenager to emulate? We were urged not to give into the terrorists after 9/1 1. Why give in to a different kind of terrorist? So do the strong thing, the hard thing, the right thing. Don't talk.
Jennifer Johnson is a sophomore at Orchard Park