This week President Bush spent his radio address talking about the tragedy this past Monday at VA Tech. “We can never fully understand what would cause a student to take the lives of 32 innocent people. What we do know is that this was a deeply troubled young man — and there were many warning signs. Our society continues to wrestle with the question of how to handle individuals whose mental health problems can make them a danger to themselves and to others,” Bush said.

The president then talked about the federal response to the events at Blacksburg. “Colleges and state and local officials are now confronting these issues, and the Federal government will help. I’ve asked top officials at the Departments of Education, Justice, and Health and Human Services to provide the Virginia Tech community with whatever assistance we can, and to participate in a review of the broader questions raised by this tragedy. I have directed these officials to travel to communities across our Nation, to meet with educators, mental health experts, and state and local officials. I have asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Mike Leavitt, to summarize what they learn and report back to me with recommendations about how we can help to avoid such tragedies,” he said.

After mentioning some of the heroism and the sadness after last Monday, Bush concluded, “This week, we reflect on what has been lost and comfort those enduring a profound grief. And somehow we know that a brighter morning will come. We know this because together Americans have overcome many evils and found strength through many storms. And we know there will be a day, as promised in Scripture, when evil will meet its reckoning and when every tear shall be wiped away.” The President is correct, that things will get better for those at VA Tech eventually. Although, I not am sure how the evil that Cho carried out will meet its reckoning, unless it is in the afterlife.

I am sad to see that the response to this tragedy is concentrating on the early warning signs in Cho’s behavior. I don’t think that there are much universities or the federal government could do to detect early warning signs. On campuses where there are tens of thousands of students, it is easy for the extremely mentally ill to blend in. Separating the odd from the potentially dangerous might be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Once again, the national response seems to be focused on dealing with and preventing this type of incident from happening again. The larger discussions about violence in American society, and how our society treats the mentally ill are largely being ignored.

Full Text of President Bush’s Weekly Radio Address

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at
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