Perhaps "caused" might state it too strongly, after all it wasn't those who failed who pulled the triggers, but there was one signal failure that does top them all, as Dr Michael Hurd points out.
Hurd notes that same failure in all those had observed the killer in the weeks before the massacre -- the killer's room-mate; the killer's creative-writing teacher; the killer's poetry teacher -- all of whom saw something that deeply disturbed them, but all of whom failed to act. Specifically, says Hurd, what they failed to do was to pass judgement.
Evil exists, and it's right both to identify it, and to defend yourself against it. On that last point, more at my 32 Dead post. We are entitled to take nihilists seriously when they say they're intent on destruction.Come on... You can say it. Go ahead, I dare you. Say it. He was EVIL. He was BAD. He was not quantitatively different from your average, stressed out college student...he was qualitatively different. He acted with choice, no less so than the 9/11 killers, the Columbine killers, or the Oklahoma City killers. It's not mental pain or anguish. It's hatred and evil.Yet as Hurd indicates [notes Provenzo], look just how reluctant these three individuals are to describe evil--that is, a substantive threat to the living and the good--as the thing it is.
If the take-way from this tragedy is that people like Cho--that is, the viciously amoral and depraved--are helpless victims who only needed our "love" and "compassion" understanding" to deter them from their path, I think we will only pave the road for the next unspeakable tragedy. There are people who choose to be utterly nihilistic, and it is our right to defend ourselves against them.
You can't be friends with a nihilist hell-bent on destruction. Evil is not the same as emotional conflict. If you still don't understand this in the aftermath of the tragedy, then you're never going to understand it; and the way is paved for another one, and another one after that. Killers flourish in a psychological atmosphere where their potential victims think like this. This man didn't need counseling, and never would have benefited from it. He needed to be stopped, back when he was stalking women and making threats, and otherwise violating the individual rights of those on a campus.But he wasn't stopped, and all because of a failure to pass judgement. To conclude here though, here's a timely quote from Ayn Rand's essay "Our Cultural Value-Deprivation" (contained in The Voice of Reason):
The next time you hear about a crazed gang of juvenile delinquents, don't look for such explanations as 'slum childhood,' 'economic underpriviledge,' or 'parental neglect.' Look at the moral atmosphere of the country, at the example set by their elders and by their public leaders.What is the moral state of a culture in which it is too politically incorrect to pass judgement?