I wonder if any other negative creeps were outraged to see columnist Marc Fisher calling for our heads on a platter today.
Read the WaPo column here.
To recap, Cho’s high school got his parents involved which led to therapy and accommodations that appear to have helped him out. Under law those records are kept sealed, so his college administrators had no data about his previous psychiatric treatment. Evidently Fisher wants you to believe that had his records been available the massacre wouldn’t have happened. Because reading psych records is known to melt the hearts of authorities who then reward eccentric characters with the warm therapeutic attention we just don’t realize we crave. And if I kill you or whatnot, your hands are clean, because you were only acting on the stories written about me, which you read, also, without my consent.
According to Fisher it’s the absence of psychiatric records that drove the indifference to Cho’s human needs, so clearly, the fault lies not in the attitude of indifference, but the lack of documentation to verify that Cho had a history of emotional problems. In other words, only and until you get your hands on a person’s psych history will you know how to deal with them. What could possibly go wrong? Shame on our constitutional protections, and shame on you:
Here’s what I don’t get. In the hundreds of interviews the panel conducted, why didn’t they ask all those people whose job it is to care for students one question: How would you have handled Cho if you had let your conscience, not privacy laws, guide you?
Here Fisher wants you to blame people who’s job it is to care for students, not because they didn’t care for Cho, but because they would have, if not for their greater allegiance to the lousy, stinking privacy laws that prevented them from showering Cho with unconditional positive regard. But their natural instincts were paralyzed by stigma:
Virginia Tech failed to intervene to help Cho because we as a society have trapped ourselves inside rules that stigmatize mental illness and paralyze our natural instinct to reach out and help someone in need.
Natural instincts don’t require bureaucratic measures, that’s what makes them natural. Cho was stigmatized — as evil, and the paralysis of others came from the self-induced anxiety they felt in his presence. They were afraid of the feelings he generated in them. That’s what we should be examining, the anxiety of conformists in the presence of unnerving personalities, how unspoken fear makes you lie through your goddamn teeth about the effect I have on you, and since I see through your deception, why not be honest about it, the way you expect me to serve myself up to you? “You scare me.” Three words, now where do we go from here? Somewhere honest, where it has to start. You want to interfere with someone, then you have to pass the litmus test. You don’t get permission to deal with me, until you come to terms with the self-generated fear my witchiness provokes in you. These are the terms.
At Virginia Tech, students who were frightened by their encounters with Cho took action. They told adults in positions of authority.
I wonder what his peers hoped to accomplish by snitching to daddy. They don’t see their actions making Cho worse? A group defines me as deviant. I accept your label, what happens next? Hit the books, kids. Spoiled identity leads to a deviant career in the abnormal personality, the self-fulfilling prophecy for which the group is absolved from responsibility, much less learning how to relate honestly to people who make them feel bad.
The responsible adults then met and, in the words of the report, “did nothing.” Why? “Lack of resources, incorrect interpretation of privacy laws and passivity,” the panel concludes in its report….Privacy laws leave everyone from health workers to college administrators confused and defensive about what they may do and say.
Confused and defensive, oh noes! Anyone who can’t work out being confused and defensive in relation with fellow human beings is simply not adequate to deal with other human beings. Of course, we all agree that’s true when talking about human beings, so I wonder what Fisher is talking about. Oh, right.
Privacy laws leave everyone from health workers to college administrators confused and defensive about what they may do and say.
Total objectification. These unspeakable questions no one could ask were not to be put to Cho, mind you, as one person to another, but spoken by the administrators to each other in relation to him, along with certain actions upon Cho they could not, under the law, perform, because according to the law, people aren’t things.
And, by the way, not a single privacy law prevented these “everyones” from getting next to Cho, but oh ick, who wants that, not to mention the tragic implications of un-billable hours.
“Perhaps students should be required to submit records of emotional or mental disturbance . . . after they have been admitted but before they enroll,” the report says. “Maybe there really should be some form of permanent record.”
Does anyone out there buy this? Yes they do. But everyone needs to recognize that consumers have most at stake and are in conflict with privacy proposals. Maybe it’s time we, as a nation begin a serious and intelligent discussion about civil rights and coercive mental health practice in America.