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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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I read this article {via} today about a truly disgusting act by a Virginia Tech student. The student in question placed, under the cover of night and anonymity, an additional memorial stone among the 32 already-situated memorial stones commemorating the students who were killed there last week. The new stone represented the shooter and the student justified her actions by the following statement:

We lost 33 Hokies that day, not 32. Who am I to judge who has value and who doesn't? I am not in that position. Are you?

I cannot abide the moral relativism inherent in that statement. Judgement is required to live. We must judge that people capable of murdering that many other people are a threat to us. A refusal to judge the Virginia Tech mass murderer is as much a sanction as saying "good job" while you slap him on the back. Mentally ill or not, murder is beyond the pale in a civilized society. I thought this was such a brazen display that no one could possibly countenance it. I mean, no one clamored for the hijackers to be listed at the World Trade Center memorial.

So I asked a couple co-workers what they thought of it. One condemned it without hesitation and the other "totally agreed" with the student. Wha? I was dumbfounded. Unsurprisingly, the views belonged to a conservative and a liberal, respectively. If this sort of view is prevalent, I think we're in for a rocky couple decades.