I was as shocked as anyone when I heard about the shooting at Oikos University. It happened in California, near the city where I grew up as a teenage immigrant. But still, my shock didn't reach its peak until I learned that the school was a Christian institution, and that the shooter was a South Korean, my own countryman.
As I dug through the web, however, going from one news source to the next, I noticed something I hadn't noticed before. Amidst the usual tension between different political spectrums, I felt the presence of a very old elephant in the room.
In regards to One L. Goh, some seem to be keen on reiterating his social context. MSNBC even found it necessary to dive into the doctrinal statements of the school; list the percentages of Protestants and Catholics in South Korea; and report on the number of missionaries South Korea has sent out worldwide and the number of Korean-American evangelicals in the U.S.—it's obvious they want to make this a religious, social issue. FoxNews, on the other hand, focused more on the motives of Goh than on his religious affiliations, reporting that he was isolated by his classmates and made fun of for his poor English skills, and that he suffered psychologically as an individual. They don't seem as interested in the larger social context.
So, is Goh a symptom of a flawed social context, or is he just a bad apple in a healthy bunch? Will there ever be a resolution to this question of society vs. individual?
Surely, both sides need to concede that there is some validity to both perspectives. The emphasis on the social context doesn't mean that individual problems will go away, and vice versa. The problem seems to be that neither side is taking into account the other's valid ...