Virginia Tech, The Supreme Court: Counting on the System?

To be honest, I haven’t said anything about the Virginia Tech massacre because I wasn’t sure what to say.  Best to start brain before engaging mouth (or keyboard.)

However, it’s becoming obvious that the "system" had considerable warning of what was going on in Cho Seung-Hui, both before and on the day of the massacre.  It’s also obvious that "the system" dropped the ball at various points.

The usual response (in this country at least) is to change the system "so this will never happen again."  This assault on the status quo will extend from whittling down (or eliminating) Second Amendment rights to more intrusive snooping in people’s lives.  Sooner or later Congress (the opposite of progress) will get involved.  But two things need to be kept in mind in all of this excitement:

  1. You first need to see if existing procedures were followed before you change them.  A good example of fixing what wasn’t really broken is Sarbanes-Oxley, and now Europe/Russia trades more in securities than we do for the first time since the Great War.
  2. You need to realise that the "system" isn’t perfect.  It is made up of people who make mistakes both in setting the system up and in execution of their duties within it.  That’s why, as a Christian, I keep hammering at the importance of trusting a Saviour rather than an institution for what’s really important in this life and the life to come, be it church, state, or otherwise.  That means any institution.

Note: after we wrote this piece, it was pointed out that many of the laws that exist tie universities’ hands in dealing with students such as Cho.  This is an interesting point, but the problem again is thoughtless changing of the "system" in the past. Years ago colleges and schools were in loco parentis, but this went out with the Sixties, an era when many problems that weren’t "broke" were "fixed."   The system isn’t perfect.  It’s human.

Perhaps the best way to respond is to have Congress and our state legislatures engage in a "repeal session," where they can’t pass laws, only repeal them.


We don’t doubt that pro-life activists will be dancing the streets over the recent Supreme Court decision to allow the ban on partial birth abortions.  We will doubtless hear some triumphalistic rhetoric about our country "coming back to God" and the like.

There’s no doubt that this was the right decision.  Abortion should have never become a constitutional issue in the first place, although doing so has handed the conservatives a fabulous issue the last third of a century.  But it’s too early to tell whether this is the trend or just an aberration.  That depends upon the continued course of Supreme Court nominations, and that in turn depends upon the next election cycle.

Once again confidence in "the system" needs to be tempered.  The system got us into this mess at a time when our nation was supposed to be closer in time to its traditional values (it wasn’t, but that’s another story altogether.)  And, of course, we need to continue working on other issues to insure that our defence of life isn’t just to produce people whose main earthly purpose is to support and humour left-wing bureaucrats.

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