General News

Va Tech Shooting

NBC News anchor Brian Williams reported on the NBC evening news, the whereabouts of shooter Cho Seung -Hui, during his two shootings sprees and suicide, at Va. Tech Polytechnic Institute and University, on Monday, April 16, 2007. Apparently, Mr. Sueng Hui was sending NBC a videotaped message, in which he expresses his anger at unspecified wrongs inflicted upon him.

NBC received the Va. Tech shooter package containing the videotaped message in the Tuesday afternoon mail but did not open it until Weds morning. The videotape confirms what investigators suspected, that Cho Seung-Hui shared the personality traits of other school shooters. In Cho’s videotape, he mentions Eric Harris, and Dylan Klebold, the teenagers who killed 12 students and a teacher at Columbine High in Littleton, Colo., four years ago. He refers to as his “Manifesto,” he expresses a need to get even with spoiled rich kids. The videotape is the disturbing incoherent babble of a severely disturbed individual.


An emotionally troubled man, possessing the three characteristics shared by shooters of school shootings, enters a dorm room and kills two students in cold blood. Then, two hours later, he ventures across campus to a classroom (after bolting the door to keep helping out) and executes the rest of his deadly plan. This is an individual marred by a great deal of pain, with the opportunity to get firearms. It is the convergence of the necessary elements needed to manifest such a murderous rampage. This is similar to a perfect storm in that you need the convergence of the perfect necessary elements to create the disaster.

It seems you need to collect certain character traits to make up a personality profile, capable of murder on such a mass scale. Cho Seung-Hui possessed the following characteristics, shared by school shooters: these individuals plan their shooting sprees; they are thought to be a threat before they comment any crime, and their communities raise questions about their behavior before a crime is committed.

According to an article written by MSNBC, Cho Seung-Hui exhibited these characteristics in that he “didn’t snap,” but instead acquired the weapons he used in the shootings, weeks earlier. The students on campus considered him a threat and raised questions about his behavior.

Even though Cho Seung-Hui exhibited all three of these characteristics, teachers, students, and law enforcement officers, had their hands tied. Cho ignored the advice of a teacher, slipped through a mental health facility, conned campus police, and bought two firearms.

Cho Seung Hui’s community at Va. Tech apparently had ample warning signs suggesting Cho was a threat to himself and others. On November 22, 2005, a female student reported to campus police that Cho had been “annoying her” and requested police advise him to stop and leave her alone. Police referred Cho to the campus disciplinary system, but evidently, Cho was not listening, and because he made no apparent threats, what could authorities do?

Evidently, the first complaint from a female student was not the last; the second student claimed Cho Seung sent her instant messages; however, he made no apparent direct threat, making it difficult for police to charge him with any direct offense. Campus police have also said that the same day of the second complaint, someone told campus police they thought Cho was suicidal. Police will not say who made these remarks. However, investigators have discovered that two of Cho’s roommates expressed the same concern to dorm room advisors. After Campus police spoke to Cho, he went to the mental health care facility “New River Community Service” off campus. Cho then agreed to voluntary detention at “St. Alban’s” mental health center near Radford, Va. Police are trying to get a search warrant for Chop’s medical records at the facility, but again are having difficulty due to privacy laws.

However, Cho’s roommates stated he was gone for two nights. Officials believe Cho’s stay must have been voluntary since he could buy the two guns used in the shootings. The university’s chairwoman of the English department (Cho Seung-Hui was a creative writing student) stated she was not aware of Cho’s personality. However, she spoke to Lucinda Roy, who had him in one of her creative writing classes; Roy described him as troubled.

Roy told the Associated Press that “Sometimes in creative writing people reveal things, and you never know if it’s creative, or if they’re describing or imagining things, or just how real it might be. But we are all alert to things like this.”

Lucinda Roy also referred Cho to counseling and even offered to bring him; however, she never found out what happened after refusing her help. Rude refused to release any of Cho’s writings, citing privacy laws. However, you can bet investigators are looking into it. NBC News ‘Pete Williams said police found a note in Cho’s dorm room, where Cho listed “random grievances” that was evidently troubling him. The university’s associate vice president for community relations said they are” having trouble finding out much about Cho due to the fact, that he was a loner., and kept to himself.” Few students at Harper Hall knew Cho Seung-Hui.

These are examples of the warning signs associated with Cho Seung Hui, which he apparently shared with other school shooters, and yet we have 33 people dead, including Cho. I hope to learn from this incident and institute changes in society’s attitude toward guns, University and other public institutions’ mental health guidelines, and the warning signs leading up to this kind of tragedy. We need to arm teachers, parents, students, and the public on what personality defects to look for in troubled students. Since the first report of this shooting, we have heard urging from other nations on the need for reforming America’s gun control laws and self -defensive attitude. By not implementing some American policy and culture changes, we will earn more than the right to bear arms. We will also earn the right to bear unspeakable pain and sorrow for the consequences that follow the lack of proper gun control legislation.

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