April 19, 2007

Rich Kids

I've been tuning out the massacre news, but I did hear that one of Cho Seung-hui's motives was his hatred of and bitterness toward the "rich kids." When I heard that, it gave me a chill because it is something like my own experience of college.

For me as well, college was when I first became really aware of North American wealth and class privilege. It was like a paradise, honestly. Somebody cooked for us and washed our dishes. Somebody cleaned our bathrooms and cut our grass. The place was beautiful and safe. We had just enough intellectual stimulation to allow us the rotten pleasure of thinking ourselves superior and enlightened, but not so much that it amounted to anything even approaching full-time work.

And so, freed from every care, we could spend all of our time drinking an endless supply of beer, consuming an endless and varied supply of drugs, and chasing an endless supply of girls. During the day we congratulated ourselves on being so smart, so punk, so alternative, and at night we indulged in the ersatz religious ecstasy of moshing at the concerts of campus bands.

But then the first war in Iraq happened, and from this haze I started to wonder if how we were living wasn't in bad taste given all of the suffering in the world. One day I saw a beer truck going down the street, and I thought about the people who were dying in Iraq so that we could have oil to run beer trucks so that us college students could be drunk all day.

My reaction, the solution I found, was to turn to Christianity. Cho Seung-hi's was to kill everyone he could. But that I should find myself today blessed with a vocation to religious life, and blessed with the ministry of ordination, and Cho Seung-hui should find himself dead and a mass-murderer, how should I take that? I'm lucky.


Anonymous said...

I saw the reactions of the viewers: they said that Cho´remarks about rich kids were really sick.

Of course that he was sick. Of course that he is responsible for his actions.

But what nobody from those commenting Cho´ video appears to see is the culture of death from which the killer emerged. And this is really sad.

D'artagnan said...

Did you turn to Christ on your own, or were you "lucky" enough to have had people around you pointing the way.

This whole story reminded me again, that Jesus desired to heal the broken, and that needs to be my desire as well.

D'artagnan said...

p.s. have ya heard any of the Christian punk out there?

be happy to make you a mix

Brother Charles said...

Thanks for the comments, friends. I did have people to nudge me along; thanks for reminding me, Michael. As far as Christian punk goes, I'm pretty ignorant.

Jeff said...

I was listening to desriptions on television and radio of some of the students that were killed. Young people of high achievement, multiple skills, academic prowess, popularity, etc..., and while I'm listening to these heartbreaking stories I'm also thinking of the rage of Cho...

What is it in our society that causes such severe social alientation? For the weird, the "loser", the outcast, the low achiever, the socially inept, have we created such a "winner take all" mentality that those who get closed out of this circle of success feeel more compelled to lash out in a rage than in other places?

D'artagnan said...

From my own experience, I think it's isolation (self made) that causes the feeling of alienation.

Sadly, with TV and the Web, no one need talk to a real person.

Jeff said...


You may be onto something there. As more and more of this story comes out, I think we are going to discover that the web was a contributing factor throughout.