I was watching the evening news last night as the networks discussed the motivations of Cho Seung-Hui, the student at Virginia Tech who killed 32 others and then took his own life this past Monday. I was dumbfounded as the reporters, after showing the videos that Cho had made, then proceeded to say that while these videos show us the inner workings of a tortured soul, they don’t answer the question of why he went on a rampage. So, media elite, let me help you out here.
He was angry.
That’s it. That’s the reason. Cho said so himself. He went out and murdered 32 innocent people because he was angry at how others just like them had hurt him. Nothing in particular set him off (as far as we know) — just a long, bitter grievance built up over time.
So why isn’t that enough for us? We do we demand a further explanation? I’ve been considering it, and I think it’s because Cho’s sin is something we all experience to some degree. We all get angry. We all deal with bitterness. But we’d rather think that Cho was special — that some unusual circumstance drove him to the edge. I doubt that’s what happened. The same sin that festers in our own hearts exploded from his in an act that shocked a nation — a nation which clings to the self-righteous belief that we’re all basically good people. But beneath that veneer of civilization lies a world of evil:
10 …“None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Cho wasn’t the only bad apple in the bunch. Apart from the grace of God, the rest of us would be just like him — or worse. We can only praise God that He restrains us from the sin into which we would plunge without hesitation if He only let go. It’s only because of God’s grace toward me that I was not the one pulling the trigger on Monday.