Remove cause of violence by ending social divide


Remove cause of violence by ending social divide


By: Katherine Paster
Posted: 4/18/07
Another school shooting has claimed the lives of more young victims, and we are left wondering why so many of our peers had to die. In all, 33 people were killed at Virginia Tech on Monday in what officials are calling the most deadly school attack in U.S. history.

As we begin to grieve this substantial loss, college campuses around the nation are struggling to figure out how to prevent such senseless acts of violence from occurring in the future. While some students are looking to their university administrators to address safety concerns, it may not occur to them that they could also play some role in keeping tragedies of this nature from reoccurring.

The most alarming part of the tragedy is not the record-breaking number of casualties, the warning signs leading up to it, or the university's unprepared response. It is that the gunman was neither a misguided Marilyn Manson protégé nor a terrorist as we may have assumed. Instead, Cho Seung-hui was a 23-year-old English major who lived in the dorms on campus like countless other undergraduate students around the nation.

"He was a loner, and we're having difficulty finding information about him," said Larry Hincker, Virginia Tech's associate vice president for university relations, in a press release.

From the little information available, it appears as though Cho was not unlike many college students who struggle to fit in with the white, upper-middle class group of elite students who often dominate the social scenes of universities around the country. Cho poured his hatred and resentment for this exclusive group of socialites into a lengthy note found in his dorm room on Tuesday morning. His passionate disdain for the "in" crowd calls attention to the dangerous divide that exists between the popular students and social outcasts.

As we walk carelessly around campus, Syracuse University students never expect to encounter an armed gunman in our classrooms or dormitories. Yet the underlying social conflict that appears to have ignited the tragedy at Virginia Tech exists right here at SU. College students must reconsider the way we treat one another and recognize that we may be partially responsible for the insecurities and depression that drive individuals to such extreme resentment.

It shouldn't matter whether or not isolated individuals fit into our precious social hierarchy. In order to bridge the divide between loners and the "in" crowd, we must reach out to all fellow students. Small acts of kindness that require students to descend from their pedestals could make individuals feel less alone and could even prevent them from acting out in violence.


Original Source:<a href=>The Daily Orange - April 18, 2007</a>


Katherine Paster


The Daily Orange




Sara Hood


Peter Waack <>




Katherine Paster, “Remove cause of violence by ending social divide,” The April 16 Archive, accessed April 21, 2024,