The following passage from Pat Buchanan's most recent column struck a chord and reminded me of the times in my life when I stood up and took a stand against bad behavior and was told I needed to be more tolerant. As was pointed out by my friend Audie, in a recent series of emails shared by a group of former Zion rangers who keep in touch with one another, we were lucky that this type of thing never happened in our old dormitory because many of the freaks and misanthropes that we shared living quarters with had all of the tendencies and mannerisms shown by the Virginia Tech shooter.
If there is a lesson to be taken away from this horror, it is that we, as a society, are becoming too tolerant of the aberrant. For, in retrospect, the signs Cho was a disturbed and dangerous young man, who belonged not on a campus but in an institution, are many.
He stalked one girl until she complained to police. He e-mailed another until she, too, went to police. Cho was taken to a psychiatrist, who concluded he was a "danger to himself and to others." He wrote plays for a creative writing class so full of hate and violence they alarmed one teacher to the point where she pressed him to get counseling. Another teacher had demanded and gotten his removal from her class.
Suite-mates in Harper Hall found him so uncommunicative they thought he could not speak English. All those who lived with him seemed to know about him is that he never spoke, turned away when spoken to, watched TV, worked his word processor incessantly and went to the gym.
Though he spent four years on campus, no one knew who Cho was, which bespeaks a larger point. Colleges have grown into city-sized universities of tens of thousands, and have ceased to be communities, even as the United States is ceasing to be a country, a nation and a people.
We are told that is a good thing. We are ever admonished to respect differences, to be tolerant of what we might think of as bizarre behavior. We are told that among the worst of sins is to be judgmental about how others behave.
Multiculaturalism is what we are about. Diversity is our strength. All cultures, all people, all lifestyles are to be treated equally. At Blacksburg on Monday, we learned that there is such a thing as too much tolerance.