Virginia Tech Shootings

Even though I am no longer a college counseling center director, I maintain relationships with my colleagues in that field via a discussion list for college counselors. As you might imagine, there is much chatter on the list about this horrific tragedy at Virginia Tech today. As of 1:37pm, the Virginia Tech counseling staff was locked in their offices through the morning but have plans to remain open late tonight. A campus alert has been issued and the school will be closed tomorrow. Details are emerging about the circumstances.

Colleagues have been quite generous with offers to travel to Virginia Tech to assist as needed. My prayers are with the families and staff there…

As the news of this tragedy was coming in, I was teaching about video game violence in social psychology class. We had just seen a video featuring a speech by Jack Thompson, attorney who specializes in suing violent video game makers. Thompson, in a sense, prophesied Columbine by warning about the impact of video game violence on kids on the Today Show days before the event.

Some papers have predicted that this shooting might revive a debate on gun regulation, however, I hope with Dr. Phil on last night’s Larry King Show, that the debate will include discussion of the culture of violence, which includes violent video games.

UPDATE: 4/17/07 – More details are being reported about the mental status of Cho Seung-Hui. Grove City College Alumna, Professor Carolyn Rude (’67), chairwoman of the university’s English department, has been widely quoted saying Cho’s papers were so disturbing that she referred him to the university’s counseling service.

UPDATE: 4/18/07 – Clearly demonstrating premeditation and severe mental illness, NBC News received a packet of information mailed by Cho Seung-Hui between killings on Monday.