Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Korean Response to Virginia Tech Killings

A couple thoughts on the killings at Virginia Tech... Having been married to a Korean woman for 12 years, I am naturally more aware than most of news relating to Korea and Koreans. So when it was reported this morning that the killer was a South Korean national, I started searching the Korean news sites to see how they were covering the story.

It seems the news hasn't spread as far as South Korea yet, and to be fair, it is the middle of the night there as I type this note. But typical is the coverage I found on the Chosun Ilbo's website, which reported that one of the victims is a Korean, grazed in the hand. The article, under the headline "Korean Hurt in Virginia College Massacre," goes on to quote a student from the Korean Student Association as saying it is unlikely the gunman was Korean since "it's so hard" for Koreans to get guns in the U.S. The article is online here:


Of course, the site will no doubt be edited once the Chosun Ilbo's editors wake up in the morning and learn the latest. But the article and the quote from the KSA member reflect a strand of defensiveness for which Koreans are known. This isn't meant as a slight. It just seems to be ingrained in the Korean consciousness, this sense of being under siege and having to present a collective defense at the hint of any threat.

As for the difficulty getting guns, well, it's not difficult at all. And whatever gun control measures the reactionary left tries to ram down our throats, it never will be difficult for the killers bent on inflicting the kind of carnage we witnessed yesterday.