Saturday, April 21, 2007

Lowry: Stop tiptoeing around the problem of mental illness 

The authorities at Virginia Tech did their own version of this urban shuffle in their handling of Cho Seung-Hui. It's obviously much easier to realize that someone is dangerously deranged after he has killed 32 people than when dealing with uncertain knowledge in an environment where any wrong (or even correct) move means a lawsuit. But Virginia Tech often tiptoed around Cho's mental disturbance.

When his ''poetry'' was read aloud in a class, it was so terrifying that at the next meeting of the class only seven of 70 students showed up. Cho was removed from that class, and another professor began to tutor him one-on-one, but only after establishing a secret code word with her assistant to signal when she should call security.

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