Thursday, April 19, 2007

One of us.

Thanks to Claire @ 8Asians, who links us to a commentary by NPR's Robert Siegel about Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho.

Certainly, Cho was a Korean citizen, a detail that national and international media have run with. Just the fact that in the first couple days after the shootings, some were calling him Seung-Hui Cho (American style first name/family name), and others were calling him Cho Seung-Hui (Korean style family name first).

And of course, conservative commentator Debbie Schlussel exposed her instant racism by saying it was probabaly a "Paki" (read about it in Andrew Leonard's article in

Robert Siegel gets it right when he says, "People who don't know this country don't get this country." He was talking about foreign journalists, but he could have just as well been talking about Debbie Schlussel.

First of all, Schlussel should be fired. If Don Imus deserved to be fired (and he did), Schlussel deserves to be fired and slapped in the face with a shoe.

Second, it is not even useful look for some kind of foreign explanation behind Cho's actions. Siegel points out that his insane rants were grounded in American culture, not Korean. The Washington Post referrs to Cho as a local, from Centerville, Virginia.

A local. Cho was one of us. Regardless of his legal nationality, Cho grew up as a kind of American, just like the rest of us. There was no ideological or military training; just public schools and American TV.

Yes, he held a green card. But that doesn't explain anything. Cho was a deranged murderer, an American deranged murderer, like the Columbine kids, the Oklahoma City Bomber, the Unibomber. He's one of us. He's a member of a club that the government is not going to protect us from by fighting 'em "over there."

What an awful tragedy. Pray for the victims, pray for their families, but don't forget to pray for America. Most of all, say a prayer for the people who don't get this country. God help us all.

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