You know, this kid who committed mass-murder at Virginia Tech. Usually when traumatic events occur, I want to know EVERYTHING about them. It's not because I'm lasciviously attracted to them--nothing could be further from the truth. I'm appalled and horrified by them; they get stuck in my head and I can't shake them. They haunt me.
My obsessiveness is because I want to know as much as I possibly can to try and understand things, to piece back together a string of events in order to feel some sense of control. Huge loss of life due to accident always affects me like this. I nutted up over September 11, Columbine, don't get me started on any airplane accident. Those lead to hours or days of searching online for all information regarding the event and all similar crashes in the past. It's really horrible.
The Virginia Tech shootings affected me the same way. I was glued to the TV for far too many days, far too late into the night while the events were rapidly unfolding. It was and still is horrific. I feel so insanely awful for the friends and family of everyone involved. It's unthinkable.
I was offended and disgusted by the decision to show Cho's photographs and audio ramblings on TV--so close to the events. This seemed like information that was necessary for the investigators to have immediately--but far less important for the public to have. It followed so rapidly upon the shock and horror of the slaughter, that to see the killer pointing a gun in every viewers face was just too much. I don't think anyone needed to see that to 'get' how horrifying an end all those people came to. I felt it perpetrated a posthumous crime against the viewers by Cho, via the TV networks who decided to show it.
And the back-peddling began immediately. What offended me most were the in-your-face pundits who verbally attacked the audience by saying 'we wanted it' and 'we' wanted to see it, so we're only giving it to you the way you want. That really really pissed me off. Yeah, I'm sure there were people out there who wanted to see it. But what motivated the majority of 'news' programs was a dishonest pretension of investigative reporting, callously showing shockers to treat everything as though it was gossip rag fodder. And then when public outrage began to mount due to the tastelessness of both the timing and the dissemination, then they decide to shirk responsibility and play victim themselves, saying they were making 'hard decisions' and weighing what was appropriate to show a news-hungry public. Riiiight.
Then everyone was wringing their hands asking why Cho went off his nut, what were the deciding factors, what could have motivated him, blah blah blah, my answer was 'because he's CRAZY.' The end. There's no new pathology, just a more well-planned spree that took advantage of how classrooms are set-up. He 'slipped' through the cracks because he alienated everyone and isolated himself. He wasn't able to be institutionalized because he was functionally able to participate in the world. And we don't need to go institutionalizing every creepy oddball out there anyway. We can't even 'institutionalize' our non-violent members of society who need medical/mental help and can't get it, due to years of governmental cutbacks of funding for at-risk folk. We just turn them out on the streets.
Cho inflicted as much of his warped pain on everyone he was able to that day in order to hurt as many people as he could and make a glorious name for himself. And he did it.
Do I wish the University had done more? Sure. I think they could have made a case that his behavior was so disruptive socially and academically and such an administrative burden, that they could have sanctioned him to live off-campus or expelled him. But in either case, I'm certain that had he still decided to focus his rage on the school, he would have. Virgina Tech was probably covering its butt with this student, fearing that any disciplinary measure may lead to a lawsuit. Schools must deal with situations like this all the time--problem students who are clearly out of kilter but who cannot be handled by the institution, and who are functionally proficient enough to not be considered a 'danger' to others--though they very well are.
Do I wish his family had done more? Sure do! But there again, you're dealing with a family who probably had no idea how to handle a mentally ill son. They may have been in denial, they may have been afraid; they may have written him off and felt some sense of relief when he went away to school. Who knows? Should they have sought more aggressive care for him? I think so. But did their culture play a role in preventing them from doing so? Probably yes there too. There's any number of social factors that come into play for an immigrant family trying to succeed in a new country, with kids who grow up very Americanized. I'm sure all sorts of disconnects occur. It's just one more link in a huge long chain of events that unraveled so disastrously.
This is a long way of saying that I'm still horrified by the shootings at Virginia Tech. I'm still very upset for everyone involved. And I think much of this mess perfectly illustrates what's wrong with our media, our country's attention to it, our treatment options for the mentally ill, our litigious society, our failure to be able to protect the one and the many at the same time--and mostly, how fucked up it is that when a nutjob goes on a rampage, we immediately give that douchebag all the press he ever wanted, glorifying him for the next little out-of-step punk who wants to go out in a blaze of glory.