Marie, over at View from the Pews, has an excellent post on the "why" of the VA Tech tragedy. Basically, there is no "why" without accounting for evil in the equation. Unless the man was truly delusional, she points out, on some level, he chose to do what he did. It was certainly premeditated. It was definitely done without any thought to the identity of the victims.
As I commented to Marie on her blog post, I think I grasped at the mental illness explanation for two reasons. First, it is the label the media is putting out. That is their "why". The fact that the media is saying or implying that his emotional state, or whatever (so far unnamed) medication he may have been on, is responsible for these killings, should not be a reason to embrace that explanation. I rant about the media on here quite enough to have known better.
The second reason I began to embrace the mental illness label though, is one of raw hope. I, like everyone else, want there to be a way of preventing this type of thing from happening in the future. We look for scapegoats. The administration, the police--*someone* should have done something.
Well, someone did do something. Liviu Librescu was a 76 year old engineering professor at Virginia Tech. Long past retirement age, he continued doing what he loved. As a Holocaust survivor, he knew that evil exists and he had the presence of mind to move against it any way he could. Knowing that shootings were taking place in his building, he physically blocked the door to allow students to escape through the window, knowing that the shooter could shoot him through the door, which is exactly what happened. Liviu Librescu is being buried today in Israel.