my life as a crocheter & knitter & working mom

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I don't want to write about it, but I have to

I don't want to say anything about the shootings at VA Tech. It's just too horrible to think about and my heart aches for those involved. But, the sexism inherent in the mishandling of the situation by the campus police means I have to say something. said something that got me thinking (I'm quoting here because I'm not sure how to link to the direct graph):

But there's another security story that's not mentioned in this article. The part of the story that unfolded before Cho bought the guns and ammunition. He exhibited antisocial, threatening behavior for quite some time before he packed up weapons and killed 32 people. Much of that threatening behavior was directed at women. One female teacher reports being afraid for her safety when tutoring him alone. Cho is reported to have obsessively, persistently stalked a number of female students who lived on campus. By accounts now surfacing in the news, police came to speak with victims in one case (maybe more? maybe not), but no charges were ever filed, no further action taken, and the behavior continued to escalate. If even a misdemeanor charge had been on record, would he have been able to obtain those weapons so easily? Did nothing happen because the law enforcement system involved -- really, all of us -- don't take violent crime and threatening behavior against women as seriously as we should?

The assumption by the security on campus that the first shooting was a "domestic" situation and didn't require a campus lockdown was ludicrous. A number of spree killers murdered "domestically" before exanding their spree. The largest on campus spree killer prior to this, Charles Whitman killed his wife and mother before climbing into the tower at University of Texas. "Domestic" doesn't mean that there is no threat to others. Especially if you don't find a gun in the room of the "murder-suicide." I really do think that VA Tech bungled this. There were 2 hours between shootings. If they'd locked down the campus, by doing more than sending out an e-mail, they could have saved some lives. I know the ultimate responsibility for this act lies with Cho, but when will domestic violence, which is usually against women and children, be taken seriously as a real crime. It's just as real a crime as stranger on stranger.

1 comment:

Amy Lane said...

I hear you...I think the problem is that misogyny is actually still more prevalent in academic circles than anyone wants to admit. It's more subtly done than, say, the 'bitches & ho's' hard-core rapsters make it, but women are frequently undervalued, and female values and points of view are frequently diminished in any sort of academic setting...

And that sort of thing just grows.