In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 23, 2007 / 5 Iyar, 5767

Preventing evil

By Linda Chavez

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Thirty-three people are dead; 32 of them innocents, gunned down by a young man who then killed himself. We want to know why. We want to understand how such a horrific thing could happen on a bucolic college campus.

Could it have been prevented? Do we need better laws? Did university officials ignore the warning signs of a dangerous young man bent on destruction? Did police fail to protect students in the hours between the first shootings in the dorms and the massacre that ensued in the engineering building later that morning?

It is as if we think that if we come up with the right answers we can prevent what happened on Monday morning at Virginia Tech from ever happening again, anywhere. It is what makes us human — the need to understand, to uncover the pattern that will explain everything, to impose order on anarchy.

In the end, we will never know why Cho Seung-Hui chose to murder students and teachers at Virginia Tech. Surely not by looking for clues in the videos and 1,800-page manifesto he mailed to NBC in the interlude between the first shootings and his final killing spree. In the videos, Cho reads from a script in which he is the victim, and all around him are his persecutors. Cho fancied himself a martyr when he was nothing more than a puerile narcissist.

There has been much discussion of Cho's mental state. A parade of psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health experts has weighed in to posthumously diagnose Cho as mentally ill. We have learned that he was referred to a psychiatric hospital in Radford, Va., after harassing a female student in 2005. "Affect is flat and mood is depressed," the doctor who evaluated him wrote. "He denies suicidal ideations. He does not acknowledge symptoms of a thought disorder. His insight and judgment are sound," the doctor concluded, ultimately recommending against involuntary commitment.

But blaming the doctor who let Cho go, or even blaming mental illness for what Cho did, it seems to me, is wrong. It is almost as if we have succumbed to Cho's fantasy. He is simply a victim, carrying out an inevitable course of action that others have allowed to happen.

Perhaps it is easier in our postmodern age to ascribe illness to evil. Surely no one in his right mind would do the things that Cho did, we want to believe. But this explanation, like all the others that have been offered to try, even after the fact, to exert some control over what happened, misses the point.

No one is responsible for Cho's deadly deeds but Cho. He carefully planned the carnage he would wreak. He wrote and recorded a script to blame his victims, then mailed it to the media to ensure his own immortality, which most media outlets have been all too eager to accommodate.

There are no larger lessons to learn from this horror, except perhaps that man is capable of almost limitless evil. But after Auschwitz and the Killing Fields of Cambodia, after Jeffrey Dahmer and John Evander Couey, after 9/11 and the suicide bombings that occur almost daily in Iraq, do we still need proof that evil exists?

It would be comforting to think we could stop the Cho Seung-Huis from their deadly mission. If only we had stricter gun laws — or maybe if we encouraged everyone to carry guns — we could prevent another Virginia Tech. If only we could better diagnose and treat mental illness — or else lock up anyone who exhibits violent, antisocial tendencies — we could ensure no one else would die at the hands of a madman. If only . . .

It is human nature to seek solutions. But the capacity for evil is also a part of human nature. It is something we choose, each of us, of our own free will — to do good or evil. Cho Seung-Hui chose evil — and the only bulwark against evil is always to choose good ourselves.

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JWR contributor Linda Chavez is President of the Center for Equal Opportunity. Her latest book is "Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

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