Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Song For Sueng-Hui Cho

I saw the outtakes of your tapes—
the ones you took time out to mail
between shooting sprees.
You had
killed two already and would soon
kill thirty more, before yourself.
Thirty-three people, dead. Thirty-
three families left bereaved
including, grievously,
your own. I saw you brandishing
the pistols you had bought,
in some mad mimicry
of those martyr tapes of terrorists,
arms spread, eyes fierce
and focused on the plan
you had worked out
to wreak your vengeance on humanity.
I heard your rant—those parts
of it the network judged
fit to air—the spew of words
that must have seemed quite logical
to you, in your derangement.
And watching you, I thought
how easily the brain
can slip between that sane
and necessary sense of mission,
for a man, and vainglorious
obsession; how love
and hate are only
two sides of a coin; and how
your peculiar, deadly dedication
and crazed intensity
might well have served, in only
slightly altered circumstances, to save life
rather than destroy it.
Where good-hearted people
stood by to offer help,
your mind saw nothing
other than rejection—no more,
really, than a twist in the hardwiring
of the brain. I saw
a sad boy
desperate to prove himself
a man, and not knowing how,
unless by “killing Dick”—
your own revealing words—
in one ultimate, outrageous
gesture of hatred and defiance.
For this, in rage,
you found fault in everyone
around you but
yourself, and left us
gazing without solace, without
explanation, deep into the murk
of our own human souls.


carly said...

P: That guy was mimicking films, Elephant, and other violent ones, often made by Asian directors (fact, not slur). Something Peckinpaw started and Tarantino continues.

In ancient theater, violence was committed off-stage, not shown. A testament to man's regression. (and the influence of entertainment business). (fact, just what is).

I hope you can get to how metta actually works. And have you seen any results of metta?

Cardozo said...

"...gazing without solace, without explanation, deep into the murk of our own human souls."

This pretty well describes how I've been feeling...very murky. Very much wanting to avoid watching the media coverage about the shootings.

The murk is understandable, but the "without explanation" is unacceptable, I think. There is always an explanation for everything. Although some explanations are unknowable at present (the origin of the universe, for example?), I think it's certainly within the realm of human capacity to determine what went wrong in this young man's life, and sent him on a murderous rampage.

The warning signs were plentiful. It seems obvious to me that our method of dealing with mental health concerns is inadequate. We should focus our attention there. In doing so, we will have to answer very difficult questions about our culture's propensity to engender feelings of isolation and disenfranchisement. After all, Sueng-Hui's case is extreme, but the inner turmoil that drove him to murder must be festering in many others as well. (perhaps in all of us, to a certain extent.)

carly said...

P: Everyone's so blown away by this thing. To think, this happens EVERY DAY in Iraq. And to some degree, due to the very people who think this is so terrible.

Do you think if this happened every day here, some of these people would get up the gumption to change things?

carly said...

Cardozo. That is some thought, to surmise inner turmoil is festering in all of us. I don't have the least inkling of an idea to go out and kill people. Some anger with the more ignorant ones is as far as I might go. To say such a thing, reveals something, in the young, something whiny. If you're gazing into the murk of your soul, you must be into some pretty bad thoughts, and should get some help. Or perhaps you are just over-thinking it. And it's fun to think on the dark side.

What method of dealing with mental health concerns? Who is going to determine what people are crazy? This kind of idea leads to a totalitarianism. Watch out for that trap.

No, what we need is a method of dealing with the causes of unrest. Such as shown by the methods of Taoist and Buddhist thinking. This kid was mad about something and got a stupid idea about what to do about it, instead of getting a good idea about what to do.