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Sep 23rd
Home Sections MiscellaNEWS The Virginia-Tech Tragedy: A Wake-up Call to America
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Monday, 23 April 2007 06:58

The Virginia-Tech Tragedy: A Wake-up Call to America and the World 

The Los Angeles Times reported on April 19, 2007, that “In a chilling video made public Wednesday, Virginia Tech gunman Seung-hui Cho declared: ‘This didn’t have to happen,’ likening himself to the Columbine (High School) killers and talking of his hatred for the wealthy.” 


           The L.A. Times reported in the same front-page article written by Richard A. Serrano and David Zucchino that “Cho turned his venom on people of privilege in the U.S. (Cho said) ‘You had everything you wanted. Your Mercedes (Benz) wasn’t enough, you brats? Your golden necklaces weren’t enough, you snobs? Your trust fund wasn’t enough.’            


           “Cho adds, ‘Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ, who inspired generations of the weak and the defenseless people.’”            


           Yes, Seung-hui Cho was a madman. Certainly nobody in his right mind would justify his murderous conduct caused apparently by a tidal wave of anger at the Establishment of the wealthy, the influential and privileged people. But the incident at the Virginia-Tech campus should result into Chonami-, oops, tsunami-like waves of wake-up calls to the United States and the world, especially the industrialized countries.            


           The gap between the rich and the poor is getting so wide in the United States, in so many countries and even in the Third World. And the rich countries are wasting so much resources and energy in waging wars – supposedly against international terrorism – and building armaments and nuclear weapons that often the world forgets that even in countries like the United States, there are millions of people who live below the poverty line.            


           Max V. Soliven was the dean of Filipino journalists. He wrote years before his death last year: “It is better to be poor in an impoverished country than to be poor in a rich country.”            


           The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday, Sunday, that “neither parent (of Seung-hui Cho) worked after 2004 because of poor health.” Because they are not yet American citizens, they could not avail of Medicare benefits and this fact probably was another wave in the gunman’s tsunami of anger at the wealthy.            


           According to statistics, more-than 40% of the 300-million population of the United States does not have health coverage. The United States has only less-than 5.0% of the world’s population and yet it consumes more-than 25% of Earth’s energy from fossil fuels. Americans are the biggest contributors to global warming (climate change), as they drive the world’s biggest collection of cars, boats and airplanes. They have also the biggest arsenal of automatic weapons in private hands in the entire world. The wastes of the American atomic-energy plants represent the world’s largest-and-biggest quantity of radioactive litter that still have to find a permanent disposal site. And it takes more-than 10,000 years for the radioactivity in the spent atomic rods to disappear.            


           The United States is the only superpower in the world. It is the economic engine of the world. No other country can threaten its existence. The United States is like steel that can withstand any blow from the outside but may succumb to rust from within. There are rusts showing in the fabric of American society.            


           What is eating the steel-like strength of the American nation is the growing army of its poor and homeless citizens. Its social services and healthcare facilities are now threatened by the legions of uninsured patients who cause the closures of so many private hospitals. The growing ranks of drug addicts not only contribute billions of dollars more to the country’s trade deficit (as drug money gets “exported” through the black market) but also require so much in social costs. The drug trade feeds tens of thousands of gang members who distribute the illegal stuff. Gang members and drug users sap the strength and resources of the police and even of the military.            


           The policymakers and decision makers of the United States must address the said issues that corrode the country’s socioeconomic fabric and make its service-oriented institutions rusty. They must decide the wisdom of spending the hundreds of billions of dollars in fighting the war in Iraq. Perhaps it would make more sense to use the money in ameliorating the plight of America’s poor, the homeless, drug addicts and, yes, the mentally-sick people like Seung-hui Cho. Perhaps it is indeed appropriate to address this growing tidal wave of anger and frustration against the Establishment, the military-industrial complex and Corporate America while there is still time. # # #


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 April 2008 01:11

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