An Imminent Danger To Others

A New York Post editorial asks why the Virginia Tech killer was allowed to go free after a court found him to be “an imminent danger to others.”

An excerpt:

Now comes news that a court in 2005 found Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung-Hui to be “mentally ill” and an “imminent danger to others” – but then let him go.

Anyone who doubts that the court’s diagnosis was correct need only reference the video diatribe Cho mailed to NBC news, which aired the clip last night.

That Cho was free is an outrage.

But it’s not exactly news that American courts regularly elevate abstract personal rights above those of the public.

Certainly, many questions remain in the the Virginia Tech massacre.

But it’s not too soon to wonder why in hell Cho was left to wander freely after that sort of a court finding – and numerous other warnings as well.

Were authorities so concerned with Cho’s rights that they declined not only to commit him to a secure hospital, but even allowed him to stay in school?

Most perplexing: How on earth was Cho able legally to purchase a gun, given his history of mental illness?

Yes, the law in this country is deferential to individual rights – as opposed to those of society in general. That’s the American way.

But ever since the development of effective psychotropic drugs back in the ’60s spurred the so-called “de-institutionalization” movement – fancy words for dumping mental patients on the streets – it’s been clear that in this realm, at least, the pendulum desperately needs to swing back in favor of the public.

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