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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 04/21/2007 :  23:48:11  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This could be in the religion or media forums, and there's politics mixed in, but since the radical Christian groups like Focus on the Family seem bent on pushing the evil theme regardless of the fact the VA Tech shooter was mentally ill and showed evidence of being psychotic, and since it would seem the radical Christian groups have a reason to distract people from asking how a god could 'do this'/'let this happen', I think this "evil" nonsense needs discussing and belongs in this forum.

OK, so what specifically just set me off?

It seems some of the Evangelicals are beating the drums to push their agenda, not to mention how much air time Fox and in this case CNN Headline News, Glenn Beck gives these guys. MSNBC has Scarborough as well. These are Evangelical Christian mouthpieces.

This country could be having a discussion about mental illness. About recognizing it, about improving services, about those threat assess teams I posted information on in the Baghdad Tech thread. But no, what is the news media focused on? Evil, evil doers, fear, (and a little of the profound sadness and sense of loss).

Glenn Beck's little piece on CNN Headline News just now had a Focus on the Family spokesperson and a few other sympathetic folks on. They all discussed how "liberals" don't want to discuss the fact there is evil in the world. Beck made the usual claim this wouldn't have happened in the "old days". (The old days Jon Stewart points out when slavery was the norm or when civil rights organizers were being murdered and lynched.) The FotF spokesperson said, if only we had prayer in the schools, and reminded everyone some memorial of tiles for the Columbine students weren't allowed to have religious symbols and of course the implication was all that was the reason for Cho's mental breakdown. And Cho's taking pictures of (heaven forbid) girls under the desk was claimed to be more evidence of perversion and evil. No mention of mental illness of course.

Do these people even realize how horrible they are acting toward the mentally ill? I have no issue calling those folks with borderline personalities who blame everyone for their misfortune and take their revenge with a murder rampage evil. Probably we should give them some leeway for their defective brain function. But a person who more than likely was a paranoid schizophrenic having a psychotic break, that is a person who is mentally ill, not a person who was evil.

The fact the FotF have a mouthpiece on CNN is just a very bad thing. Where are the rational spokespersons? Where are the people who speak for the mentally ill? Are the news outlets run by Evangelicals or are they just catering to their 'base'?

This is what I wrote to the Beck show after tonight's program

"The VA Tech shooter was mentally ill. Instead of focusing on mental illness, on what needs to be done, and the use of threat assessment teams to monitor such people as Cho, you chose to focus on religion, evil, a false belief about the "good old days" (everyone thinks it was better in the past, a quick fact check will show you it wasn't) on your CNN TV program tonight. A true Christian has compassion for the mentally ill, Glenn, not a belief the mentally ill are evil. Just wondering what century you were living in?"

Other news coverage is no better:

Mass public shootings on the rise, but why? While some see connection to guns, others blame erosion of community

Virginia Tech: From the shadows, a killer was born Seung-hui Cho, always silent and withdrawn, was outshined by his sister in a culture emphasizing male success. But no one expected what was to come.
quote:
He was a psycho who needed help. His parents and friends failed in that regard. Society failed, too."
That was the reference to mental illness. The rest of the story was a narrative about the cultural barriers and influences.

For some locals, Cho family was 'like ghosts' - The father worked long hours. The mother attended church. They are largely unknown.

Cho used eBay to buy ammo clips; By The Associated Press

Speculation over Cho's written message; AP
quote:
Cho, a sullen loner who often refused attempts to communicate with others, used the religious references to blame his actions on those who had bullied him growing up, speculated Thomas C. Brown, founder of The Broken Toy Project, an anti-bullying awareness program.

"Killing them would tell his former tormentors that 'their' mistreatment of him, (not those at Virginia Tech) resulted in this carnage," Brown wrote in an e-mail. "I don't think he was angry at anyone at Virginia Tech. They were the innocents; just like Ismael would have been if his father had killed him to prove his loyalty to God."

There is no evidence this ever occurred. A few people reported some teasing but no one has given any indication Cho was relentlessly bullied. Reporters and others are writing the story they believe, not the story the evidence reveals.
quote:
While there is no clear explanation of its meaning, the Internet is abuzz with speculation about the meaning of the phrase "Ismail Ax" on Cho's arm, "A. Ishmael" on the package and "axishmiel" on the file.
Everyone's trying to figure this out. If you were psychotic, maybe you could. It's typical psychotic behavior. An aquaintance of mine was a manic depressive who killed himeself, "on the seventh day of the seventh month" in 1977. It was part of his delusion, nothing more.

Virginia Tech: Officials still seek motive As if they will find one.

It takes an Arab news source to even notice the mental health system's deficiencies:

Virginia Tech massacre sparks national soul-searching
quote:
From gaps in its mental health system to lax gun laws, the deadliest school shooting in US history exposed problems in American society that will remain long after the last victim is buried.

[snip]

[Bush,] An opponent of stiffer gun control laws, the president did not respond to the inevitable calls for a tightening of gun legislation, which have followed the tragedy.

He touched on one of the other issues, which has come to the fore, however—the difficulties of handling individuals with mental health issues and how Cho appears to have fallen between the cracks of the state and university health care systems.

“Our society continues to wrestle with the question of how to handle individuals whose mental health problems can make them a danger to themselves and others,” Bush said.





Edited by - beskeptigal on 04/21/2007 23:48:52

Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9672 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2007 :  03:03:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Fear promotes religion.

It's so much like the female singer in the Swedish band "Ace of Base", Jenny Berggren. A stalker broke into her hourse and scared the living shit out of her, and that made her run to church and cower in the shadow of Jesus.

She said in an interview on Swedish TV that her faith gave her the security she needed.



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R.Wreck
SFN Regular

USA
1191 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2007 :  11:05:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send R.Wreck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Incidents such as the Virginia Tech shooting are powerful evidence refuting the existence of any kind of god, at least one who cares about anything happening on this planet. To those who see this as evidence of evil, in the supernatural sense of the word, as the work of some super-demon, I say that your god ain't so great, is he? If he allows things like this rather than preventing them, like by giving Cho a nice fatal blood clot in the brain before he starts shooting, then he's no better than the devil you blame, and certainly not worthy of worship. To say that god was just calling his children home is ludicrous. What's another 60 or so years to an eternal being? Why not just let them live out their lives? And why inflict such sorrow and grief on the families and friends of the victims? Mysterious ways indeed.

The much more likely explanation is that neither god nor devil exist. We are dealing with, to paraphrase Vonnegut, someone with some bad chemicals running around his brain. And you're correct, beskeptigal, if we are to prevent a future similar tragedy, we need to figure out a better way to deal with people who are defective in this manner.

And while I'm at it, what is with all the people, president dumbass included, crowing about the praying they're doing? Who the hell are you praying to? The same all-powerful all-loving god that created the defective Cho in the first place and then let him kill 32 innocent people? Why would you ask anything of such a despicable entity? Besides, it's too late to pray. The dead are gone, and they're not coming back. If you believe so much in the power of prayer, then pray that nothing like this ever happens again. Then explain why your prayers didn't work after the next one.

The foundation of morality is to . . . give up pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence, and repeating unintelligible propositions about things beyond the possibliities of knowledge.
T. H. Huxley

The Cattle Prod of Enlightened Compassion
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2007 :  11:52:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Excellent points, RW. The, "what's another 60 years", is one I hadn't yet heard and is very poignant. Apparently God is as greedy as he is insensitive to suffering.




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Orwellingly Yurz
SFN Regular

USA
529 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2007 :  21:51:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Orwellingly Yurz a Private Message  Reply with Quote
YO! Beskeptigal! You're right over the plate and in the pocket again.
Cosmic Sky God-itis or Celestial Peeping Tom Syndrome seem to always be the cause of some folks not thinking rationally, which in turn, makes them forever miss the friggin' point!

And Glen Beck is an idiot. I salute you for having the stomach to watch that clown to know what swill he's pandering with.

Orwellingly Yurz.

"The modern conservative...is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy. That is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
--John Kenneth Galbraith

If dogs run free
Then what must be,
Must be...
And that is all
--Bob Dylan

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--Oscar Wilde

"We have Art in order not to die of life."
--Albert Camus

"I cling like a miser to the freedom I lose when surrounded by an abundance of things."
--Albert Camus

"Experience is the name so many people give to their mistakes."
--Oscar Wilde
Edited by - Orwellingly Yurz on 04/22/2007 21:53:22
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2007 :  23:41:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm still disappointed hearing now repeatedly, Cho was the evil person responsible. Like I said, I can buy it when it's borderline personality, but complete psychosis? The news media has the evil/revenge picture in their heads and can't let go of the belief in light of new evidence. You'd think this was the middle ages. I'm pleased to see filthy found some decent news coverage. (see the other thread for the links)

Edited by - beskeptigal on 04/22/2007 23:44:41
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Siberia
SFN Addict

Brazil
2322 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2007 :  08:12:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Siberia's Homepage  Send Siberia an AOL message  Send Siberia a Yahoo! Message Send Siberia a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by beskeptigal

I'm still disappointed hearing now repeatedly, Cho was the evil person responsible. Like I said, I can buy it when it's borderline personality, but complete psychosis? The news media has the evil/revenge picture in their heads and can't let go of the belief in light of new evidence. You'd think this was the middle ages. I'm pleased to see filthy found some decent news coverage. (see the other thread for the links)


Methinks believing he's evil is easier than accepting that he might have been a real person, with real problems and a real need for medical care. It's easier to blame the perpetrator or an invisible source. Truth hurts.

"Why are you afraid of something you're not even sure exists?"
- The Kovenant, Via Negativa

"People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs."
-- unknown
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Bill scott
SFN Addict

USA
2103 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2007 :  08:55:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Bill scott a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siberia



quote:
It's easier to blame the perpetrator



The reason it's easier to blame the perpetrator is because he is the one who just KILLED 32 PEOPLE IN COLD BLOOD. No amount of physco babel will escape him from the consequences of his actions. By his confessions and written "plays" this guy was knew just what he was doing. And if he did not, so what? If he is not dead lock the dude up in 4 x 8 box for the rest of his natural life.

"Lets get one thing clear, Bill. Science does make some assumptions." -perrodetokio-

"In the end as skeptics we must realize that there is no real knowledge, there is only what is most reasonable to believe." -Coelacanth-

The fact that humans do science is what causes errors in science. -Dave W.-

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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2007 :  09:05:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bill scott

quote:
Originally posted by Siberia



quote:
It's easier to blame the perpetrator



The reason it's easier to blame the perpetrator is because he is the one who just KILLED 32 PEOPLE IN COLD BLOOD. No amount of physco babel will escape him from the consequences of his actions. By his confessions and written "plays" this guy was knew just what he was doing. And if he did not, so what? If he is not dead lock the dude up in 4 x 8 box for the rest of his natural life.
I think you're missing some of the point in your zeal, Bill. It's clear that this guy was very disturbed and needed much more help than he was getting. And perhaps if he'd gotten the proper care he'd needed, all those people would be alive right now.

I wouldn't say that this guy's mental state absolves him per se from his acts. I'm not even sure it should be considered a mitigating factor. But it's clear that he wasn't well, and it's a shame that the social safety net wasn't there to get him the help he needed.
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2007 :  09:09:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh, and I can't stand it when various theocratic talking heads argue that if we had prayer in schools, tragedy X wouldn't have happened. As though it really were illegal to pray in school! (And if it were, how would it be enforced?!?) Ugh.
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Siberia
SFN Addict

Brazil
2322 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2007 :  09:18:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Siberia's Homepage  Send Siberia an AOL message  Send Siberia a Yahoo! Message Send Siberia a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bill scott

quote:
Originally posted by Siberia



quote:
It's easier to blame the perpetrator



The reason it's easier to blame the perpetrator is because he is the one who just KILLED 32 PEOPLE IN COLD BLOOD. No amount of physco babel will escape him from the consequences of his actions. By his confessions and written "plays" this guy was knew just what he was doing. And if he did not, so what? If he is not dead lock the dude up in 4 x 8 box for the rest of his natural life.


Oh, sure he did and sure he's absolutely guilty of what he did - but it doesn't change the fact he was ill and if people only realized that, the 33 of them could be alive and well. Like I said and you've just proved, it's hard to admit he might have been, y'know, a real person with real mental problems rather than just evil. Which does not make him immune to paying for his acts, or instantly absolved of what he did.

Like I said, truth hurts.

"Why are you afraid of something you're not even sure exists?"
- The Kovenant, Via Negativa

"People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs."
-- unknown
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the_ignored
SFN Addict

2557 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2007 :  13:41:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send the_ignored a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I posted this in the wrong thread...an article by an atheist about this, and the reactions we've been getting.

>From: enuffenuff@fastmail.fm
(excerpt follows):
> I'm looking to teach these two bastards a lesson they'll never forget.
> Personal visit by mates of mine. No violence, just a wee little chat.
>
> **** has also committed more crimes than you can count with his
> incitement of hatred against a religion. That law came in about 2007
> much to ****'s ignorance. That is fact and his writing will become well
> know as well as him becoming a publicly known icon of hatred.
>
> Good luck with that fuckwit. And Reynold, fucking run, and don't stop.
> Disappear would be best as it was you who dared to attack me on my
> illness knowing nothing of the cause. You disgust me and you are top of
> the list boy. Again, no violence. Just regular reminders of who's there
> and visits to see you are behaving. Nothing scary in reality. But I'd
> still disappear if I was you.

What brought that on? this. Original posting here.

Another example of this guy's lunacy here.
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2007 :  14:35:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Doc said: "Fear promotes religion."

How true, how true. And religion promotes fear, does it not, for without fear, what would be the point of any religion?



There never was such a thing as the "good ol' days." No matter how smooth things were going for some peoples, it was a rough ride for others.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2007 :  17:23:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Very fine toughts, Be.

I'm a liberal atheist who sincerely believes in good, evil, and many shades in between. It bothers me when the religious try to monopolize these words, and it bothers me when occasionally atheists accept this, or reject such terms as "evil" as meaningless. By doing so, we would be accepting the religious slander that atheists can have nothing to say on ethics or morality. Certainly, religious concepts of good and evil are "meaningful" only within the ideological closed circuit of religious thinking, but those aren't the only uses of the words.

Ethically, we atheists have a tougher row to hoe than do the religious. We don't have self-appointed religious authorities to interpret in stark black-and-white the superstitions and taboos of a tribe of ancient sheep herders. We have to examine each issue and look to see what is good or bad in its impact upon others, under the assumption that the lives and feelings of others are as important as our own. We have to keep on our toes, thinking of ethics much of the time.

The religious don't have to do so much thinking on ethics -- it's all handed to them in sermons and tracts. Perhaps that's one reason why there are so many more of them in prisons than the small percentage of atheists who get locked up.

Yes, Cho's acts were evil, in any meaningful secular sense. But Cho was a mentally deranged person, who seems to have acted out to get even with a world which he thought didn't give him everything he wanted. Real evil can come in many forms, acts stemming from insanity, acts motivated by racial, gender, or religious bias, acts committed simply to take from the weak.

When the religious use the word, "evil," they have an invisible "D" preceding it. The concept is a very primitive one of possession by a malicious spirit.

My first powerful exposure to evil was when I read Peter Weiss' play, "The Investigation." Most of the dialog of that play is taken directly from the transcripts of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal. Before reading "The Investigation," I knew Nazis were bad, after reading it, I knew something of their evil.

Here's another example of "evil": Exploiting a tragedy caused by madness, to promote one's organization and one's mythology.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2007 :  20:57:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by the_ignored

I posted this in the wrong thread...an article by an atheist about this, and the reactions we've been getting.



If there already weren't 637 comments on that poetry I'd be adding:

What silliness to think I need a belief in a god to feel sadness and empathy for the parents and other loved ones of those murdered people. I feel pain when my son is out, a nagging dread, I try to keep it to a realistic level but it comes from empathy for those grieving parents.

And where is the empathy from the theists crying evil for a person who had a profound mental illness? I don't think a lot of people are getting that fact. In their desire to make the world into what they believe rather than trying to make it a better place based on what it is, people are molding this tragedy into something is wasn't.

It wasn't an evil person possessed by or beholden to or even influenced by the Devil.

It wasn't a person (from what I can see) who was bullied and teased into becoming a vengeful murdering maniac.

It was a boy born with defective genes (from the most current research we have) who was exposed to whatever in the environment (as of yet unknown) that caused the onset of a serious mental disturbance. Due to isolation, and other circumstances this person's illness progressed unabated until it culminated in a horrible tragedy.

When a person with a mental illness so severe they are a danger to others is properly dealt with, we treat them for mental illness not for evil. We secure them in a mental hospital if we catch them before they commit violence and in a jail if it is after but in either case, the intervention is directed at their mental illness. We don't send in the priest to perform an exorcism.

Where would you draw the line, Bill? When is a person evil, and when are they a delusional paranoid schizophrenic? Are you suggesting we send preachers into mental hospitals and exorcise the demons from people?





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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2007 :  01:55:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I confess that I myself have no empathy for Cho, only for his victims and their friends and families. There is simply no way I can identify with or sympathize with someone so deranged. I could, perhaps, feel some sympathy if he'd been abused into his condition. But instead, any such abuse was all in his head.

Cho was a dangerously defective human specimen, and I admit I'm glad he's dead. But he wasn't possessed by the Devil, and he had no "guilt" in any meaningful sense of the word. Cho's thinking processes were too shattered and chaotic for us to be able to compare him with people who are capable of doing deliberate evil. We will never be able to see into Cho's mind, and for this we should be thankful.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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