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Another Point of View

Here's TheLastPsychiatrist's latest post on Hui (Cho Seung Hui: It's The Movies, Stupid); his approach is exactly the opposite of mine, and while I disagree that we should focus exclusively on the media rather than Hui's mental health history, he makes some excellent points, including:

  • People look to the media for models of how to do things
  • Hui was looking for an identity
  • People with mental illnesses are not statistically more likely than anyone else to act violently (though those with severe mental illnesses are eleven times more likely than others to be the victims of violence) and focusing only on the mental health aspects of things villifies people who don't even begin to deserve it.
As I said in a recent post, I love this guy's blog. Part of the reason I note it here is that it's important to consider different points of view on any issue; in many cases, even people with completely opposite ideas are "right" (or at least worth listening to) at the same time. (Not that he'd necessarily say I'm right, but I bet he's the sort to enjoy a healthy debate and would agree that tolerance and discussion is a far better approach to disagreement than going all Warcraft on someone's a**.) Appreciating different viewpoints doesn't mean you're ambivalent, it means you're wise enough to be able to hold and appreciate opposing views.

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. -F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Now is a particulary important time to recognize that we can disagree and still appreciate and respect and even admire the people we disagree with. A lot of people are threatened by views that differ from theirs (the uncomfortable feeling that causes that is called cognitive dissonance), which in most cases is ridiculous. Tolerance is respecting and appreciating the other person and his/her ideas without disrespecting or wanting to hurt that person.

A number of people have remarked that Hui doesn't deserve the attention; it's what he wanted. They insist that we focus on the lives of the survivors and all the positive things they did and gave to the world. In this spirit, is currently running photos, biographies, and loved ones' stories about the lives of each of them.


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