Thursday, April 19, 2007


The world is such a sad place today. The killings in Virginia have once again ignited the flames of desire for many people in the country to address the issue of guns-what has them, who doesn't, who can get them, who can't. Why do you need a gun if you don't hunt?

But for me, the question becomes also about other issues we can't discuss, race and mental illness. Last year when I was just starting this blog, I wrote a lot about Denice Denton, the chancellor at UC Santa Cruz who committed suicide. There was an alarming number of flashing lights going on with the late chancellor but hardly anyone picked up the signs. Now again, the warning signs were flashing in Virginia but the systems there couldn't and wouldn't address this young man's mental illness.

In questioning my APA friends today, I asked if they had any repercussions from this horrible event. The answers were interesting. They all uniformly said, no, not any repercussions. But they had a number of viewpoints from their different angles:
  • they were glad he spoke clear and precise English so it didn't look like he was a recent arrival with no skills to be in the country;
  • why did the issue of race have to be raised so often in the reporting?
  • why is Korean culture (specifically South Korean movies) being blamed for this assault?
  • since Korean culture tends to be homogeneous, should all Koreans be ashamed of this act?
I know there will be plenty of attempts to answer the why question. But I wish the country would start treating mental illness in the same way we treat cancer. And I wish people could see the mental illness instead of his race. We are long way from evolution on all of these issues.

No comments:

Add to Technorati Favorites