Bush Orders National Inquiry Into Prevention Of Violence By The Mentally Ill

Friday, April 20th 2007, 3:49 pm
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Responding to the Virginia Tech shootings, President Bush says he has directed federal officials to conduct a national inquiry into how to prevent violence by dangerously unstable people.

The White House said Friday that the departments of Education, Justice and Health and Human Services will travel around the country to meet with educators, mental health experts and state and local officials, reporting back with recommendations.

They also will work with the Virginia Tech community to better understand what might have led a troubled student to kill 32 people on the campus and then commit suicide.

This was to be the topic of Bush's weekly radio address, taped on Friday and set to air on Saturday. The White House took the rare step of making the text of the address available for publication before its Saturday delivery.

``We can never fully understand what would cause a student to take the lives of 32 innocent people,'' Bush says in the address. ``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.''

The president wore a maroon-and-orange tie Friday in honor of the school colors on a statewide day of mourning. In the days since, writings and other evidence have emerged to paint a disturbing psychological portrait of Cho Seung-Hui, the 23-year-old gunman.

Some of the warning signs in Cho's past include two stalking complaints against him and a psychiatric hospital visit in which he was found to be a danger to himself. Videos mailed to NBC the morning of the killings revealed a man angry at rich kids, snobs and people who had wronged him.

``This week at Virginia Tech, we saw a glimpse of humanity at its worst, and we also saw humanity at its best,'' Bush said. ``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.''