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The Virginia Tech Killings: Is Cho Seung Hui a Freak of Nature Or Are There More Out There just Like Him?

Watching CNN today it struck me how the media is whipping up a frenzy of anger against Cho Seung Hui with their sentiment for the victims and celeb shrinks painting him as a one-off crazy.

Of course we feel outraged and sympathize with the victims. Our hearts and prayers go with them.

But it seems to me the media is missing another side to this story – we should be asking ourselves how did this guy become a mass murderer in the first place, and what can we do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

I do not accept the simplistic answers that I’m hearing. I don’t believe we can just label him as some crazed “psycho” on a rampage. That’s too easy.

Listening to his video I’m hearing things like his pain from being bullied, his low self-esteem and inability to fit in that turned his hurt and isolation into anger, then on to bitterness and murderous hate. It’s a common thread that I’m noticing.

My step-kids are immigrants and I know the pain they went through trying to fit into a different culture. The racist comments, the smirks and laughter in the hallway, the isolation and loneliness of not finding any friends.

But it’s not only just immigrants. It could be the kid across the street who might feel unattractive, or who could be painfully shy, not dressed as fashionable as their peers or just plain different from the other kids.

This is a society problem and I’m willing to bet there are thousands out there who are just like him. Ticking time bombs just waiting to cross the threshold.

Picture someone like this in a culture celebrating TV violence, movies and video games. Leave them alone to nurture their neurosis, give them easy access to guns and that’s a recipe for disaster if I ever heard one.

Unless we accept the fact that this is our problem and that we need to reach out with our hearts and love these people before they get to the point of no return, there will be even more incidents like this. Mark my words. Perhaps even worse.

Blog Blokes Search TagsSearch tag: Cho Seung Hui, news

Written April 19th, 2007 by | 8 Comments | Filed under: Personal stuff

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The Virginia Tech Killings, Is Cho Seung Hui a Freak of Nature Or Are There More Out There just Like Him?

Watching CNN today it struck me how the media is whipping up a frenzy of anger against Cho Seung Hui with their sentiment for the victims and celeb shrinks painting him as a one-off crazy.

Of course we feel outraged and sympathize with the victims. Our hearts and prayers go with them.

But it seems to me the media is missing another side to this story – we should be asking ourselves how did this guy become a mass murderer in the first place, and what can we do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

I do not accept the simplistic answers that I’m hearing. I don’t believe we can just label him as some crazed “psycho” on a rampage. That’s too easy.

Listening to his video I’m hearing things like his pain from being bullied, his low self-esteem and inability to fit in that turned his hurt and isolation into anger, then on to bitterness and murderous hate. It’s a common thread that I’m noticing.

My step-kids are immigrants and I know the pain they went through trying to fit into a different culture. The racist comments, the smirks and laughter in the hallway, the isolation and loneliness of not finding any friends.

But it’s not only just immigrants. It could be the kid across the street who might feel unattractive, or who could be painfully shy, not dressed as fashionable as their peers or just plain different from the other kids.

This is a society problem and I’m willing to bet there are thousands out there who are just like him. Ticking time bombs just waiting to cross the threshold.

Picture someone like this in a culture celebrating TV violence, movies and video games. Leave them alone to nurture their neurosis, give them easy access to guns and that’s a recipe for disaster if I ever heard one.

Unless we accept the fact that this is our problem and that we need to reach out with our hearts and love these people before they get to the point of no return, there will be even more incidents like this. Mark my words. Perhaps even worse.

Blog Blokes Search TagsSearch tag: Cho Seung Hui, news

Written April 19th, 2007 by | Filed under: Personal stuff

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  1. Cho’s victims were diverse, including immigrants and 1st generation Americans, including at least one male Asian (Chinese) immigrant - Henry Ly - who came to the US around the same age, early elementary school, that Cho did. Apparently, Cho also grew up in a neighborhood that has a sizeable percentage of Asians and Va Tech is a diverse school where Cho could easily have socialized with Koreans or Asians in general, if he felt the need for ethnic association.

    Cho’s alienation, at least based on ethnicity, was a choice or a compulsion, not forced upon him by a lack of people with similar backgrounds. Cho’s older sister, who presumably would have had a harder time adjusting to a new culture since she was older when their family moved to the US, is a fast-track success.

    Don’t get me wrong - I appreciate the sociological perspective. But in this case, I think the indications are of serious mental illness - bad brain wiring. Cho should have been committed and received intensive treatment with drugs and counseling in a controlled environment. My mom’s a psychologist with a neuroscience background and she tells me everything she’s seen about Cho strongly indicates schizophrenia and that the psychologist who diagnosed him as anything less should have his or her license revoked, at least.

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  2. Yes, some kids are less sensitive and more resilient than others. But that’s no excuse to write him off as a nutbar. Nor am I saying that he became what he was just because he’s an immigrant.

    I suppose I could have talked about the obese girl or the klutzy boy who gets picked on because he can’t catch a ball. I’m merely posing illustrations to get people thinking.

    What I am saying is it’s up to all us to reach out and not just leave it up to the system when abhorrent behavior becomes evident. By that time it’s too late anyway.

    It starts in the home by educating our kids to treat others with kindness and compassion even if they might seem to be a little different (i.e. treat others as we wish them to treat us).

    It’s up to the schools to continue that education and stop the bullies before they do more harm and before we need to institutionalize them or until another tragedy happens again.

    It’s up to our legislators to make certain weapons are less easily available, especially to people who have already been diagnosed with psychological problems.

    It starts with the entertainment industry that celebrates violence… what is it they say about an ounce of prevention.

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  3. Bloke, this is an evil world we live in and bad things happen. I don’t see much value in laying the blame for something like this on the parents, schools, government, or entertainment industry.

    They guy was in his 20’s. He was old enough to be personally responsible for his choices.

    Combating evil becomes that much harder when we remove the personal responsibility for our own actions. If I can excuse my behavior toward others by placing the blame elsewhere I am just that much less likely to exercise self control.

    I do appreciate the point of your post that kids experience pain and exclusion at the hands of bullies. Most of us have been at the receiving end of bullying at some point and know the pain it causes.

    Yet most of us find someone along the way we connect with, which is healthy because we humans are relational beings. The shooter in this horror at VT is an example of where we can end up if we are completely isolated socially and emotionally.

    In his case it appears he did it to himself. People such as his roommates apparently did attempt to reach out to him.

    I disagree with you on the gun issue too. But this comment is way too long already.

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  4. I’m a believer of personal responsibility and definitely hold Hui responsible for his actions. However, I’m not sure that it’s true that his alienation was all his fault. We live in a cruel world where people are discarded and never reached out to. Loneliness leads to depression, depression to despair, despair to hopelessness, hopelessness to anger, and anger opens the soul to evil.

    I think back to High School and we all knew a Cho Seung Hui. I had several friends who were outcast by the popular people and can tell you that it touched both their lives and mine. More people need to reach out.

    Once again, it’s not our ‘fault’… it’s simply that it can be prevented in the future. I’m glad you brought up this to discuss.

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  5. I’m all for personal responsibility, and likewise the same goes for society. And when I say society I mean each and every one of us.

    To be human means that we are all different, and we react to circumstances in different ways. I know in my case I went through a hard time when I was in school and if someone hadn’t reached out to me who knows how I might have turned out.

    I’m not trying to play the blame game. I’m just advocating reaching out of our comfort zones to help those in need. Be a friend to the friendless and love the unlovable.

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  6. Coincidentally, CNN has now changed its tune and is posing the same questions that I mention this post. So did Oprah. It seems they must also read the Bloke.

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  7. I saw a brilliant writer who wrote a book titled “Rampage” on the tv yesterday. She made a good point in that she said instead of being a loner, this kind of kid is a “failed joiner.” I think that says a lot! And I love to read the Bloke…just now finding time to do so!

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  8. A failed joiner? That’s kinda like blaming a heart attack victim for not driving themself to the hospital.

    I saw an interview with his Mother who said that he was a quiet loner since he was a child. So where do we get off blaming someone for being born extremely shy or introverted?

    Instead of writing these people off why can’t the extrovert finger pointers reach out and make them feel welcome. Now there’s a thought.

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