Thursday, April 19, 2007

Can I Scream Now?

Currently there is a lot of right-wing entertainment of ridiculous what-ifs and theatricality in print over the tragedy of this past Monday at Virginia Tech. This article from The Conservative Voice is a farce, absolutely inappropriate and frankly, disturbing.
If five or ten unarmed students had rushed the shooter and mobbed him and beat him to a pulp, some would undoubtedly have been wounded or killed, but the rest of the students would have been saved. Charge! Throw textbooks, staplers, anything handy. Pick up pens, pencils. Jump the shooter, tackle him, pile on, crush him to the floor with massed bodies, stab him in the eyes or neck with pencils or pens. (Click the ballpoints out first--makes a better stabbing instrument that way.)
To run this article with the title "The Virginia Tech Massacre's Lessons" totally overlooks that those were people killed, a deranged young man, desperately seeking something (albeit clueless as to what that was), who, incidentally, also has a family who is utterly humiliated over their son's actions, and that there are families who need love and care right now; not macho posturing.

But what I find even more horrific is the comparison to the Flight 93 heroes of 9/11.
I am reminded of Flight 93: Todd Beamer, Jeremy Glick, and all the other passengers who were brave enough to charge the hijackers and prevent that plane's crash into the Capitol Building or the White House.
In my mind, there is no comparison. Regardless of what the Flight 93 heroes did, inaction would have guaranteed death; but the alternative also meant death. These were kids with a thread of hope that they might live, not men doomed to die whether they were successful in their plan of attack on the terrorists or not. At Virginia Tech, there was a potential way out; on Flight 93 there was no way out.

Equally horrific is the writer's comparison to the war in Iraq.
I am reminded of our soldiers who have charged the terrorists, taking the fight to them overseas, rather than sitting passively at our desks waiting to be shot or bombed or gassed or nuked here in the USA.
No comparison. At all. Period.


Les Puryear said...


Unfortunately, it sounds like Paige Patterson, was reading the same article.


Streak said...

Les beat me to it. Actually sounds like Paige Patterson was saying the same thing. Unbelievable. These people watch way too many movies, and ten bucks says that both of them are big supporters of the war.

Tony said...

From the Conservative Voice, it didn't surprise me. I'm dumbstruck. I know Dr. P often flaunts himself as a man's man, but this is pushing the envelope way too far.

And Streak, if I was a betting man, and I'm not, I wouldn't take that bet. I'd be out $10. Unless you wanna go double or nothing they support the NRA with hearty financial contributions.

selahV said...

TONY: The Conservative Voice doesn't speak for this conservative. Sad, very sad commentary. selahV

Tony said...


Nor this one.

Streak said...

Selah, perhaps I misunderstood you over at BDW, but how did the Conservative Voice response differ from Paige Patterson?

selahV said...

Steak: The difference is BDW said Dr. Patterson was blaming the students for the massacre. I don't read into the few words I've seen that he verbalized as doing that.

The Voice literally said that the V-Tech students should have done this or that. Dr. Patterson was calling on men to think...charge...and immobilize...even in the face of death should this ever occur on their watch. I don't see this as saying the students at V-Tech were less than brave, or somehow weak men. I may be reading less into it than you and others, but that's the way I see it. And I think I'm entitled to have an opinion even if it doesn't match someone else's.

Now, this said, I will let you all have at it on this subject. I am sick of the what ifs, the I woulda done this or that. None of us know what we would have done in that situation at that particular time.

I don't know what I would have done if I had been raped, car jacked or forced at gunpoint to get into someone's car either. But I've been reading up on all the vulnerable parts of an individual, thinking about all the items I could use to maim him, or escape him, should I be faced with what I know others have been faced with in times of horrific attacks. Does that mean I think these other women are stupid and should have thought of what I am thinking of doing? NO! But what they've gone through helps me think about what I might do should I encounter their terror. And if I do nothing, so be it. I'm not a coward either. selahV

Tony said...

Streak and Selah,

In Selah's defense, she and I have conversed over email regarding our differing opinions on this matter.

In all fairness, I did not know about PP's response in chapel at SWBTS until after I had posted on the gibberish at the Conservative Voice. I think that is clear.

Ben Cole, whom BDW was quoting, has a nasty penchant for smearing anything Paige Patterson. I do not know why he has such a vendetta against whom he mockingly refers to as the "Red Bishop." However, given PP's "counsel" during chapel practically matched the CV post, I spoke against it.

PP may be coming at it from an entirely different angle, and if so, I will retract anything I have said, if that comes to light.

Nevertheless, I still feel, given what I know about PP's intent and my history at SEBTS, that his remarks were ill-timed and opportunistic.

I am all for defending those who are weaker, but it is too early to turn this into an object lesson about Second Amendment rights or this degenerating into an anti-SBC or anti-PP thing.

God's blessings,

Streak said...

Selah, I am confused where I said you weren't entitled to an opinion? Have I ever said that?

selahV said...

Streak: no, I don't think you did. And I'm sorry if from my statement you felt I inferred you did. :) I was just spouting off a rhetorical statement. And as old Wade Burleson says, "I was speaking generically". LOL. And the definition of generically that I mean by this is: C--"having no particularly distinctive quality or application." :) selahV :)

Streak said...

Thanks, Selah. I certainly don't believe in censoring people.

I should also note, and I know that Tony knows this, that my own experience with the SBC conservative takeover makes me incredibly cynical toward Paige Patterson. You all might have experienced him as a thoughtful teacher. I have only experienced him as a ruthless politico who seemed to take pride in ridding the denomination of people like me.

Tony said...

What??!!?? Streak cynical???



Streak, I knew how you felt about my old professor and you are right; I did find him an incredibly good teacher and throughly knowledgeable. Nevertheless, I did find his political tactics questionable and still do.

And the chest-thumping bothers me in regards to non-SBC-ers. Yes, there is a theological divide that will never be crossed, but it does not entitle us to any elitism at all. The chest-thumping better that you left mentality is selfish and wrong.

Let's just find our points of commonality and work to make the lives of others better.

Streak said...

What??!!?? Streak cynical???



Gordon Cloud said...

Bro. Tony, I can certainly appreciate your concern for the feelings of the families of those involved in this terrible tragedy. Given your geographical proximity to Blacksburg, you are probably even more aware of the trauma suffered than many of the rest of us are.

I do not think it is being calloused, however, to discuss what one might do in a similar situation. As unthinkable as it sounds, this could easily happen again. Those who are on the side of a proactive response in life and death situations still feel the pain that everyone feels. People process their feelings in different ways. Please do not think us insensitive or uncaring if we talk about how we might hope to respond if we were ever forced to make such a decision.

I do not think it too far of a leap from Flight 93 to what happened this week. When you are in a group of people and a gunman is taking shots at everyone, even shooting some multiple times to ensure their death, it is not unrealistic to expect that he is coming for you as well.

As I said, I certainly appreciate your compassion and concern for those involved, but please do not think that others of us are insensitive or ridiculous because we choose to consider our options.

Tony said...

Bro. Gordon,

Thank you for jumping in the discussion and realizing the proximity of my ministry as well as my heart of compassion in this case, because it is there, I assure you. Members of the church I serve were affected by this, if not only friends who had kids at Tech.

But I believe you have missed my point, or sidestepped it perhaps. I an not saying that we should not think through how we should respond if this should happen to us. But what I am saying is that it is insensitive and unfair to blame the VA Tech students for trying to preserve their own lives and blaming them somehow for their peers' deaths.

This was the point of The Conservative Voice post and the way Dr. Patterson's remarks have been interpreted by many.

Dr. Patterson had a heart of compassion behind his words; I do not doubt that because I know him personally, had him for classes, plus I was friends with one of his bodyguards.

But the post from the CV was callous and heartless, even to the point of ridiculing those who didn't respond as the writer thought they ought to have. That is what I found offensive; not the weighing of options.

As far as the comparison to Flight 93, I think there is a difference. I was not in Norris Hall nor have I ever seen Norris Hall nor the classroom where it happened, so I do not know if there was a way out. But on Flight 93, there was no way out; death was guaranteed one way or the other.

Plus, on Flight 93, they were men, not boys, of presence of mind to make a plan, regroup, and then put that plan into action. At VA Tech, it was a blitz. They had no time to formulate a plan or respond; only to react and preserve their own lives, if that was a possibility.

I never said that anyone was ridiculous for considering options. I did say it is too early to use Tech as an object lesson.

Again, thanks for recognizing my heart here. Blessings, Gordon.

selahV said...

TONY: good morning. I pray you slept well. You wrote to Gordon: "This was the point of The Conservative Voice post and the way Dr. Patterson's remarks have been interpreted by many."

I humbly ask you to not lump Dr. Patterson with the Voice. "The way Dr. Patterson's remarks have been interpreted by many" is wrong. His statements have been and are being misinterpreted. You can trust me on this one.

And finally, in the words of a dear friend of mine, I offer these words on it all. "Ultimately, for me, all public analysis should, in a time like the VT tragedy, pull to the side of the road, and just sit in silence, as we do in the south when meeting a funeral procession. This is a time to mourn, not think...A time to cry, not condemn."
God's grace be upon you and all those enduring this agony and loss.

Tony said...

Mrs. V,

In the essence of an economy of words, I phrased it that way. I felt like the implication was there that by saying the way Dr. Patterson's remarks have been interpreted by many would make the point, but obviously even that has been misunderstood. Again, one of those limitations of blogging.

I apologize to all for any condescension toward Dr. Patterson. That has not been my intent nor has it ever. However, I still feel his words, though I am sure were not without compassion for anyone either side of the gun, were still ill-timed. Maybe I am just being unreasonable, I don't know.

I hope I have been clear.

A note to Gordon: I did say the entertainment of what-ifs was ridiculous. That statement I will stand by, because like selah said earlier, "I was speaking generically". LOL. And the definition of generically that I mean by this is: C--"having no particularly distinctive quality or application." :)

May you all have a grace-seasoned day; I am off to the nursing home for devotions and ministry this morning.

Streak said...

Now it is I who feels censored, Selah. I certainly do believe that Patterson's words were not misinterpreted, and I find it a bit ironic that someone who has armed body guards could be so flip about other people's lives. And that is what he was doing.

gordon, personally I still think that both the CV and Patterson were channeling a John Wayne movie, or perhaps Bruce Willis. Both talked about a brand of masculinity that is more Hollywood than reality. Planning for such an event requires actually thinking through a plan for how to deal with something like this. "Rush em boys" is hardly a plan, unless you are then channeling the romantic view of the Confederacy.

Tony said...

Thank you everyone for the calmness of attitude and demeanor in this discussion.

I want my blog to be a place where we can all come together, regardless of theological stripe and political bent and discuss issues that matter to us.

I want to add a further comment about Dr. Patterson's remarks at the SWBTS chapel service. I considered an additional post to hash out my thoughts, but I really do not want a bunch of hits from Patterson defenders.

Needless to say, I disagree with Dr. Patterson's remarks. That notwithstanding, I agree that the stronger should defend the weaker when necessary and when able, no matter the cost.

Dr. Patterson did not make those comments in a vacuum. Should a situation like that arise near him, he would be defended by an armed guard. I hold no ill will toward him for that; a man in his position with his history needs a guard. Nevertheless, I felt it cold at best to be so brazen with the lives of others, even if heaven is indeed the guarantee.

I have no problem talking through the issue to determine how we might react in such a crisis situation or making strategies to preserve life in those situations. The bottom line is we do not know how we might react.

Too often we take our cues from Hollywood rather than reality. What has been implied as cowardice (and I am not accusing Dr. Patterson of this, though some have, and the CV, which I referenced in the original post certainly did) in my estimation is common sense and preservation motivated by abject terror.

That being said, I had Dr. Patterson for classes and counseled with him. I found him to be a kind, generous, brilliant, thoughtful man; but not infallible and oftentimes insensitive.

I sincerely appreciate everyone participating in dialogue here and hope it continues. You are all welcome here!

Anonymous said...

Excellent comment from cb scott on Ben Cole's post about Paige Patterson.

cbscott Says:
April 20th, 2007 at 7:16 am
This is bigger than the blatant hypocrisy you are now addressing. There is no certainty of security on this earth. What happened at VT could happen anywhere.
All men are born depraved, but some enter into a deep, dark evil that brings fear into the hearts of hard men when they smell its foul breath and look into its empty eyes.
Frankly, Christian men do need to understand our responsibility to protect the helpless. We need to come to the position that if we are living for Christ and in Christ moment by moment then any day is a good day to die if necessary.
There is an evil so vile that to fight it is the only right thing to do. Even though we will fear the kind of evil I am talking about we must determine that we are willing to kill it if necessary or die trying.
I spent many years in Virginia. I know there are some Virginia country boys that were studying engineering at VT that know full well that if they would have had their 1911’s in class with them, they could have stopped the savagery, the slaughter and the murder of helpless kids that a madman locked in a building.
It is true that no one could have stopped all of the killing, but one person skilled with a weapon could have stopped most of it had he been allowed to carry his weapon and had been willing to put himself in harm’s way. Remember that one unarmed Holocaust survivor saved the lives of several by putting his life in harm’s way.
There is an evil so foul, so vile, so without mercy, so inhumane that there is only one way to deal with it. There are times when a man or woman must fight any way possible remembering that if death might come in the process. If one is in Christ any day is a good day to die.
This is not about being macho, tough or masculine. It is not about winning or loosing.
(There are no winners in a gunfight. There are just survivors.)
It is not about being a hero or being brave. It is about dealing with an evil so terrible wherein the only hope is to fight it any way we can and knowing that if we survive there is no glory in it. There are no parades, no “atta boys”, no medals. There is only the knowledge that the survival of such evil is the stuff of which nightmares are made.
The only security any of us can ever really have is Jesus and if we have Him in our hearts there is the peace of knowing any day is a good day to die.

Streak said...

There are times when a man or woman must fight any way possible remembering that if death might come in the process. If one is in Christ any day is a good day to die.
This is not about being macho, tough or masculine. It is not about winning or loosing.

Are you kidding? Maybe it is me who is out of touch, but I don't even know where to start. But I would ask, only partially tongue in cheek, "what would jesus do?" Evidently he would blow them away.

Tony said...


I always appreciate interaction on my blog, even if it is parroting of another's opinion with the simple qualifier, "excellent." I also was very aware of CB's response on Ben's blog.

That being said, I am persuaded that the underlying sentiment of this comment is still some mix of God, guns, and glory.

I have already made it clear that I believe the stronger should defend the weaker whenever possible and at any cost. But situations such as Tech, you cannot prevent it and you cannot predict it.

Forgive me, but this "blow 'em away in the name of the Lord" mentality I just cannot get my arms around.

I appreciate CB's comment and don't disagree with some parts of it, but it doesn't seem to be grounded in a place I like to call reality.

Streak said...

Forgive me, but this "blow 'em away in the name of the Lord" mentality I just cannot get my arms around.

That's a Falwell quote, right?


Tim A Blankenship said...

I haven't been here for quite some time and I find this article. I too sympathize with all the families involved, however I believe if someone among the students would have responded and did something, they might could have even saved the life of Mr. Cho.
I would not agree to beating the man to death, but it could be a temptation in an event like that. I don't mean this to sound harsh toward the students. They are taught to duck and cover, rather than to fight.
If we all had that mentality, however, we would end up overrun with crime and violence. Though, we aren't far from it now.
God bless you Bro.

Streak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tony said...

Brother Tim,

I am not opposed to self-defense nor protecting those who are weaker. We can speculate and convincingly say that if someone had responded things might have turned out differently; that I do not doubt.

What I have been opposed to throughout the course of this thread and will remain opposed to is this macho posturing in the name of Christ.

Why is "duck and cover" in this instance so bad? What else could they do in such close proximity to a crazed kid armed with two semi-automatic pistols?

As I have maintained, these kids did not have the opportunity to fall back, make a plan, and then act on it. They were blitzed. Hence the ridiculousness of comparing them to Flight 93 or Iraq, which I am still shaking my head over.

Why the polarity of options? Neither do I understand that, Tim. Because if Tech has proven anything to us is that there should be more options.

God bless you, too, my friend.


Play nice, OK?

Streak said...

Sorry. Hit me wrong.