Part I Why is he shooting at me?
by Tony Hubble
As a result of the recent school shootings I decided to recycle a blog I wrote after the VA Tech shootings in April 2007. I was simply going to repost it, but as I’m an ever evolving martial artist, I’ve learned some new things since then, so I’ve decided to dust it off and update it at the same time. The opening paragraphs were written in reference to the perpetrator of the VA Tech campus attacks, Seung-Hui Cho, so I’ve left some of those paragraphs alone. Additionally, the mental aspects of self defense remain germane. What I’ve added are some specific tactics. This is intended for those of the mind to defend themselves, should the need arise, regardless of the circumstance. Those who would not need no help from me. They can simply continue to roll the dice.
In trying to find the reasons for why this young man Seung-Hui Cho decided on one fine die to commit mass murder the media pundits are tripping all over themselves with explanations save for the obvious. In clinical terms, this guy was a few bricks shy of a load. The whys are fairly irrelevant. The ways to prevent a person’s circuitry from going so far awry have too many factors to even consider and they are ALL out of the control of everyone he killed. Some of the people he killed may have not even known him; much less that he was a ticking time bomb.
The pundits regurgitate past tragedies, point at commonalities and try to alarm the general public again about the easy availability of guns and whether or not this kind of tragedy is on the rise. Don’t fall for this tactic. They’re trying to SELL news by sensationalizing it. It does not help the victims or their families of this attack, but the fact is, by pure mathematical statistics this is still a relatively rare crime.
They analyze the young man’s past behavior and who may have been able to prevent it or report him to some authority or “expert” who could have helped him before he snapped. There were obvious indicators, but only relevant with the benefit of the crystal clear vision of hindsight.
“He was a fan of ‘First Person Shooter’ video games video games,” they say and point to the “obvious” dangers of children and young adults playing these obsessively to later act them out in real life.
Want to know who in my unqualified opinion would do this? That’s right, a nutcase. I’m not a fan of these games but there are however thousands of children and even adults of ALL ages who play them without any intention of carrying out these deeds in real life. They are in touch with reality and can make the distinction between a game and real life.
Then there’s the ease with which we can obtain guns in this country. Well I say thank God for that! I was raised in Puerto Rico, a US territory with some of the strictest gun laws in the country. Care to guess what the gun related crime rate in the island is? You don’t have to, it’s staggering. Criminals can get a gun easily and what’s more, the restrictive laws make criminals out of law abiding citizens who own illegal weapons because they’d rather be judged by twelve than carried by six.
The point I’m trying to make is very few people had the required knowledge and tools to detect this whacko’s intent BEFORE he began his killing spree. There was not much that could have been done. Particularly by the people he killed who had no idea who he was.
However, in the midst of the attack, there were many things that could have been done. I’m not sitting in judgment of the people who fled a psycho with guns blazing. I’m not questioning their courage for one simple reason. They did not have the mental tools to deal with this incongruous act. It was so far out of their frame of reference that they simply reacted as normal people unaccustomed to violence will react. They will waste precious seconds reacting (or NOT reacting) to the seemingly surreal events unfolding before their eyes.
Most people would say there was nothing the victims could have done. That once Cho entered the building their fate was sealed and it would be just a matter of dumb luck, karma or even a miracle if they survived the attack.
There were, and are, several things that could have been done. They all mostly have to do with your mental state in preparation before an attack like this should occur and even after the attacks begin. Conversely there are only three things will contribute to your being a sheep waiting for the slaughter and probably contributed to the deaths of the vast majority of the victims of this tragedy: denial, psychological fear and apathy. I don’t want this blog to be one of those enormous scroll-down pages most people like to dismiss and move on. The message is too important. Therefore, I’ve written it in four parts. The specifics I will outline not only have relevance in a mass shooting, they apply universally to all violent attacks.