On the April 19 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, Chicago Sun-Times columnist and National Review contributor Mark Steyn commented on the April 16 mass shooting at Virginia Tech, saying that "when one man is able to kill dozens of people in the same location over a period of several hours, that reflects a systemic failure." Steyn continued: "So we need to understand what caused that failure. And I think part of the problem is a general culture of passivity, which Virginia Tech exemplifies."
As Media Matters for America documented, Steyn is just one of several media figures who have faulted Virginia Tech victims for not fighting back.
In an April 19 weblog entry, Salon.com editor-in-chief Joan Walsh noted that Steyn "mock[ed] the male students as somehow not quite being men" when he wrote in an April 18 National Review Online article: "They're not 'children.' The students at Virginia Tech were grown women and -- if you'll forgive the expression -- men." As Think Progress documented, Steyn further wrote that "this awful corrosive passivity is far more pervasive, and, unlike the psycho killer, is an existential threat to a functioning society."
From the April 19 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
NEIL CAVUTO (host): Meanwhile, do massacres like this happen because younger Americans are unwilling to confront evil? Kind of like Bo [Dietl, private investigator and former New York City Police Department detective] was just saying. Our next guest kind of agrees with that. He says it is a big, big red flag that the first person to act was an elderly Holocaust survivor. With us now is Mark Steyn, he is the author of America Alone. So Mark, you think there are a lot of red flags here. Start spelling them out.
STEYN: Well, I think -- and I should say that I am not blaming any individuals here -- but I think, clearly, when one man is able to kill dozens of people in the same location over a period of several hours, that reflects a systemic failure. So we need to understand what caused that failure. And I think part of the problem is a general culture of passivity, which Virginia Tech exemplifies. If you look at its disruptive behavior manual, for example, it tells you you should never confront people. It tells you if someone produces a weapon, that you should ask them to calmly put the weapon in a neutral position, and then advise them that violent behavior will have consequences.