The other day Richard Cohen–liberal columnist for the post–declared Monica Goodling, preemptive 5th taker to be innocent, like Scooter Libby (who was found guilty on four counts), of any crime. Did he have special knowledge of her case? Nope. He simply declared, “Monica, you’ve done nothing wrong.” In a similar vein of prejudging events, Cohen moves in to analyze the horrific shootings at Virginia Tech. He writes:
>In my day, Fort Dix, N.J., billed itself as the home of the Ultimate Weapon. That weapon, depicted by a heroic statue at the front gate, was the lowly infantryman armed only with his rifle and appearing to shout something like “Follow me!” This was the Army’s way of countering the glamour of the other services, particularly the Air Force. It took boots on the ground — not planes overhead — to really win a war. It took, in short, the ultimate weapon. No one could kill better.
Maybe. Cohen continues:
>Now from Blacksburg, Va., comes additional evidence that there is nothing as dangerous as a single man and nothing as unpredictable as the mind of man. The man who is said to be responsible for all those killings, 32 in all, will be examined down to microscopic detail. But no matter what anyone says, Cho Seung Hui was just mad. Other terms will be applied to him and, of course, he’s already being called a loner, but the simple fact is that he was mad — maybe not for long, but when it mattered, long enough.
Scoring political points about gun control or the lack thereof before they have counted the dead is bad enough. Turning a real event into a broad moral lesson–one that it doesn’t even teach–is worse. As anyone who has read the accounts of the life of the shooter knows, his actions had been predicted (and feared) by many students and faculty. That’s one of the things that’s so appalling. But let’s not mind the facts–Cohen says–as a matter of fact, let’s proclaim that the facts won’t matter–the facts that is that will come out when we study what happened–for Cohen knows the answer: he was just mad.
Accounts have it that the killer left a long and rambling note explaining his actions. No matter. Let’s not wait to read it, Cohen says, because we already know the answer. Well, if that’s the case, then there is nothing more predictable than the human mind: Cohen knows without inquiry what it’s up to.