Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Culture of Excuses

Here is a cartoon from Naver that was linked to by a commenter at the Marmot’s Hole that I found interesting. My Korean skills are limited but here is my translation, native speakers let me know if I’m off. The top frame has the American tank running over the names of the two girls killed and GI crimes while above it, it says the US has a culture of excuses in regards to these issues. In the bottom frame it says that the US is a culture of condolences after the Cho shooting at Virginia Tech.

Of course this cartoon is nonsense because USFK made apologies for the 2002 armored vehicle2002 accident and made restitution payments to the families involved. Additionally US president George Bush made an additional apology to the Korean people over the accident. Now lets compare that to when US Army Major David Berry was murdered in Itaewon in 2000 by a Korean man, no restitution was made, much less an apology from the President of Korea.

Additionally absurd is that for every GI crime that happens apologies are made from the chain of command even before the offender has even been convicted of anything. Perfect example is with the recent taxi cab related incident in Kunsan. The base commander apologized to the victim and locked down the camp before anyone has been convicted of anything. Heck when I was in 2ID I can still remember when the Assistant Division Commander, General Martz went to apologize to the mayor of Uijongbu for a taxi cab related incident.

Now let’s compare this to when Koreans have raped on multiple occasions, sexually assaulted, stabbed, assaulted, or kidnapped and paraded on tv, American soldiers. Koreans are usually not even arrested for crimes against US military servicemembers and on the rare occasions that they are, they serveno jail time . So which country really has a culture of excuses?

More VT Fallout


This blog post needs wider play, especially when you scroll down to some disturbing post-massacre YouTube videos, which are a compilation of anti-American sentiment in Korea in the wake of the mass murder.

NB: The above-linked blog post is actually a smorgasbord of links to (and lengthy quotes from) posts you may or may not already have seen elsewhere.



After reading several quotes from V-Tech students about what happened last week in Norris Hall, the question I asked myself repeatedly is; why didn’t they fight? I’m not judging, and I think this is a legitimate question.

Perhaps because Cho’s style was somewhat different than, for example, the Columbine shooters, it didn’t occur to them. In this case, Cho went from classroom to classroom, and some of these students realized what was happening, and that their classroom was next

But putting myself in those shoes, I think I would have at least tried. Hiding behind a door and waiting for him to enter. Indeed, Professor Librescu knew what was happening and sacrificed himself for his students. If they had waited form him and thrown books, chairs, whatever they could find, and rushed him, things could have been much different. Again, I’m not judging or blaming, and perhaps that would be impractical. I don’t know what the classrooms look like, so I can’t say for sure.

After 9/11 it became much less likely that passengers would allow a plane to be hijacked, so perhaps the same is true of classroom shooting like the one in Virginia Tech’s Norris Hall.

Two side notes.

* A member of our church has a son at V-Tech. He was at class when the first two murders took place in his dorm, and was supposed to be at class in Norris Hall later, but someone (erroneously) told him that class was canceled, so he went back to the dorm to sleep. In that way he avoided both kill zones.
* A 2002 shooting at the Appalachian School of Law, also in Virginia, saw three people get killed, but the shooter was stopped by two students who retrieved firearms from vehicles.

Hopefully in a few days I can write my take on this.....

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