April 17, 2007

"He came to our door and tried the handle. He couldn’t get it in because we were pushing up against it."

"He tried to force his way in and got the door to open up about six inches and then we just lunged at it and closed it back up. That’s when he backed up and shot twice into the middle of the door, thinking we were up against it trying to get him out."

More news of the horror at Virginia Tech.

Apparently, the murderer was a student, Seung-Hui Cho, who lived in the dorm.
“He was just a normal looking kid, Asian, but he had on a Boy Scout type outfit,” one student in the class, Erin Sheehan, told [The Collegiate Times]. “He wore a tan button-up vest and this black vest — maybe it was for ammo or something.”

Ms. Sheehan added: “I saw bullets hit people’s bodies. There was blood everywhere. People in the class were passed out, I don’t know maybe from shock from the pain. But I was one of only four that made it out of that classroom. The rest were dead or injured.”
This is such a sad story. I don't have much to say about it, and I apologize for mixing it in with other blog posts that lack solemnity. The young man, it would seem, went crazy. There will be endless debates about what the University should have done and whether more gun control or less would have helped. But the stark fact remains: many people died. It's terribly sad.

97 comments:

Roger said...

It is my belief that no law nor policy can stop someone who is deranged and intent on a path of mayhem and personal destruction. As tragic an event as this is, I do not believe it could have been ameliorated by any policy. Analyze the facts after the dead are buried and mourned, but when doing so, it might be best to treat this event as the terrible outlier it is.

The bottom line to me is that our campuses are among the safest places to be, and no law nor policy can protect them from the deranged.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Just for the record, Boy Scouts don't wear ammo vests.

The most dangerous implementont he planet is the human mind gone bad.

TMink said...

Roger said: "The bottom line to me is that our campuses are among the safest places to be, and no law nor policy can protect them from the deranged."

I think you are correct, for now. I wonder how long before our enemies in Jihad conduct a mass attack on a campus that has many Jewish students. Organized with automatic weapons, how long before that happens?

Trey

historyman said...

Mass shootings like this had been a province of mostly white men, so the killer being Asian (or Asian-American) sure adds complexity to the pattern thus far.

This horrific incident may help to shatter some big myths and stereotypes about Asian-American success and achievements. Myself a first-generation Asian American, I think those stereotypes have some truth, but also hide a lot of darker aspects about Asian American cultural background and realities, such as alienation.

Mark Close said...

Now is the time to pray for the victims and their families. Since no policy can keep a deranged person from killing it is more than a bit unseemly for both sides of the gun control debate to be using this event for their political purposes while the bodies of the victims were still warm; they collectively disgust me.

historyman said...

I am curious if anyone can comment on how much (or little) difference between this massacre and previous ones in the US.

It seems to me that there are two kinds of murder-suicide on campuses. In the first, there is usually one gunman that went on a rampage shooting strangers. (Columbine was different in having two killers, but it could be due to the age of the killers. Also, they shot at who were technically fellow students, but so alienated were the killers that other students were virtually strangers to them.)

In the second kind, the killer shot people he knew, then killed himself. E.g., University of Iowa in 1991, UW in Seattle in 2000 and 2007. The first two incidents involved Chinese nationals in advanced studies, and both were motivated by lack of academic/professional promotions. The third is more old-fashioned in being a crime of passion.

The VT massacre seems more blurry, combining the two kinds. Assuming that Cho Seung-Hui committed killings at both buildings, it looks like the first killings aimed at people he knew, and the second at virtual strangers.

Doug said...

Thank you for that, Mark Close -- I agree. I'm about as political a person as there is, and even I'm disgusted by the scores of people (both conservatives and fellow liberals) who couldn't even wait for a single victim to be identified before they started trying to come up with ways to use the tragedy to beat their opponents over the head w/r/t the gun-control issue.

Maxine Weiss said...

Look at who's being accepted in to colleges these days?

Holistic review. If you've got a good sob-story, or have had major dysfunction----top colleges throw open the doors.

Isn't it reasonable to expect that all these dysfunctional hard-luck stories are going to go bezerk at one point or another.

Forget "diversity". I think we should go back to the days when colleges looked for normal, well-rounded students to admit.

You have no right to a college education, and crazies/losers should be forbidden from attending.

Love, Maxine

Jennifer said...

historyman - We'll see if any of that is addressed. In Hawaii, we had one man of Japanese descent who killed fellow co-workers at his Xerox plant. The father was on the news that evening (chased down by reporters, of course) and his sole quote was "Boy should have just killed himself." To me, that seemed a stark contrast to the reactions of a lot of other parents of spree killers. And reflected my own upbringing and family as well.

Sloanasaurus said...

This horrific incident may help to shatter some big myths and stereotypes about Asian-American success and achievements.

I don't think so. The stereotypes about Asian-Americans being successful exist because that is the truth. Asian Americans are successful in this country. Also, there is no victim culture with Asian Americans. As far as I know, they don't see themselves as victims in history brutalized by the evil white man. They don't see themselves as being owed something by white men. This, in my opinion, is one of the reasons why they are successful.

This is not a story about an asian american. This is a story about a single individual who was evil and deranged and got "lucky" that he was able to kill so many people, before one of them killed him.

If I were a teacher, I would carry a gun at all times. There is no reason not to. There is always a kid out there who is deranged or mad at the world who will blame you for whatever ills that befalls them.

Schools are selected by evil pricks as places to go and kill people because the liklihood of the victims having guns or the ability to fight back is very low. We should change that formula.

Freder Frederson said...

You have no right to a college education, and crazies/losers should be forbidden from attending.

I thought you didn't believe that there was such a thing as mental illness. So how do you propose identifying "crazies" and "losers", especially since you consider any psychological workup a crock?

Jennifer said...

Sloan - I can't speak for historyman, but I interpreted his comment to mean that a lot of the underlying values in Asian cultures drive the success that fuel the stereotypes, but they can also be very harsh values that people may not be aware of.

Freder Frederson said...

As far as I know, they don't see themselves as victims in history brutalized by the evil white man.

No, no of course not, the chinese slang for white man isn't "white devil". And of course their real hatred is reserved for other Asian groups (just ask a Chinese or Korean person what they think of the Japanese or what the Japanese think of the Koreans). My best friend's wife is of mixed Korean/Japanese parentage. Her parents came here because neither family was too happy about that marriage.

rsb said...

"You have no right to a college education, and crazies/losers should be forbidden from attending."

Love, Maxine

losers like Maxine

Freder Frederson said...

If I were a teacher, I would carry a gun at all times. There is no reason not to. There is always a kid out there who is deranged or mad at the world who will blame you for whatever ills that befalls them.

Well, if you are so frightened of children that you can't face a room of them unless you are armed, I guess we can all thank the good Lord you are not a teacher.

Internet Ronin said...

No, no of course not, the chinese slang for white man isn't "white devil".

Not to be pedantic (which means I am about to be), but it isn't. It is "yang gui-zi" or "gwai-lo." It means "foreign devil."

nick danger said...

Well, if you are so frightened of children that you can't face a room of them unless you are armed, I guess we can all thank the good Lord you are not a teacher.

Ah, a classic Freder post. After all, why make substantive points when ad-hominem will do?

Jennifer said...

While Freder has a point about the antagonism that exists between Asian cultures, it's separate from Sloan's point about the cultures of victimhood that do seem to exist in certain circles - not all of which are race based.

But, his point is moot anyway as the Japanese are quite clearly the superior Asian race. :P

historyman said...

Jennifer said...
Sloan - I can't speak for historyman, but I interpreted his comment to mean that a lot of the underlying values in Asian cultures drive the success that fuel the stereotypes, but they can also be very harsh values that people may not be aware of.


Yes, basically that's what I meant. Success, sure. But it comes with a cost too.

Specifically, I thought of the mindset of "study hard" in Japan, China, Korea, and Vietnam. The tough academic examination helps fuel this mindset. Middle- and upper-class immigrants from those societies - I don't know much about other countries like India - drive their kids towards academic achievements big time.

Of course, individual situations are complex and there is always a danger about trying to generalize. Ok, "shatter stereotypes" sound too strong, so I'll take it back. But the VT massacre might leave many people wonder how accurate is the label "model minority" bestowed on Asian-Americans. Or, what does "model minority" really mean?

Sloanasaurus said...

It always bugs me that they include the killer in the body count - as if the killer is also a victim.

The killer should be disgraced to the public and disgraced by the media. They should not even dignify the killer by referring to his name or showing his picture. They should show a picture of a dead slug instead. Those that want to understand the killer's motivation or sob story should keep their findings private. The last thing we need is that a killer's sob story or manifesto aired to the public. All that leads to are copy cats, who think that they too can become famous by mass killings and public suicides.

SteveR said...

I just don't like that the focus of many will be on the political points to be made (on all sides) and not on the victums and the acts of a deranged individual.

Its easy to make points in response to just about anything that happens, can we just once take a break from it?

Freder Frederson said...

Ah, a classic Freder post. After all, why make substantive points when ad-hominem will do?

Actually, it was a substantive point concealed as a ad-hominem. So I will explain for the more dense among you (see how I got another ad-hominem in).

By attacking our esteemed Sloan, I was pointing out the paranoia inherent in the concealed carry mindset. Sloan is so afraid of children he can't imagine going into a classroom unless he is packing heat. Never mind that the drive to and from the school is infinitely more dangerous than actually being in the classroom (I suppose he drives a sherman tank). Never mind that being shot by a crazed gunman anywhere (be it at a school, the mall, or the post office)is probably the unlikeliest scenario possible of all horrible accidental ways possible that your life could end. Yet Sloan takes this incident, and a couple others, as proof positive that "[t]here is always a kid out there who is deranged or mad at the world who will blame you for whatever ills that befalls them" and apparently has an itchy trigger finger.

Roger said...

Full disclosure: While I am not personally in favor of concealed carry laws, I also understand why gun advocates gravitate to to the slippery slope argument.

From a game theory standpoint (See Tom Schelling and the logic of deterrence), concealed carry apparently presumes the uncertainty is a better deterrent than certainty. Only trouble with arguing concealed versus open carry (certainty) versus no carry (uncertainty) is that the other actor in these cases is not a rational actor. Game theory doesnt work with irrationality.

Crimso said...

"No, no of course not, the chinese slang for white man isn't "white devil". "

Someone I know who was raised during part of her childhood by an elderly Chinese couple once told me that they routinely used the terms (in Chinese) "white devil" and "black devil" to refer to the respective races.

Maxine Weiss said...

It comes from the warrior-like Confuscious.

These are not Asians. They are Orientals, from the Orient.

These Orientals do not respect our Western culture.

Peace, Maxine

Jennifer said...

Ok, here's where I (finally) admit that I must not be one of the great ones. Because I definitely do not "get" Maxine.

Sloanasaurus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freder Frederson said...

These are not Asians. They are Orientals, from the Orient.

Before you leap to conclusions, this young man was a permanent resident from Korea. It is unclear how long he lived in the country. It is entirely possible that he has lived here most of his life. I came to the U.S. when I was two years old as a permanent resident and did not become a U.S. citizen until I was 29 years old. There is no time limit. My friend's wife's grandmother came over from Poland shortly after World War I and never became a U.S. citizen (she died in the in the early 1980s). The part of Poland she came from didn't even exist as an independent country, it was part of the U.S.S.R.

Maxine Weiss said...

My actions on this site have been beyond reproach. I've made some good suggestions. I've offered to lead us all in prayer.

Peace, Maxine

Maxine Weiss said...

...above reproach.

Jennifer said...

I'm not reproaching you, Maxine. I'm just not understanding you.

Sloanasaurus said...

told me that they routinely used the terms (in Chinese) "white devil" and "black devil" to refer to the respective races.

I suppose every group has a nasty slang term to describe the other. Isn't the word Sioux really a nasty slang term used by one native american tribe to describe the other tribe....

That doesn't mean that the Chinese view themselves as victims though....

Sloanasaurus said...

They are Orientals, from the Orient.

I thought the Orient was more of a term to describe the Eastern Med. such as Turkey or Mesopotamia. Places, where, maybe some of us can agree, they do not like America.

Not only do places in Asia respect American culture, they copy it.

LoafingOaf said...

It is unclear how long he lived in the country. It is entirely possible that he has lived here most of his life.

I believe I heard someone on the radio say he came to the USA with his family in like 1992, so it seems you're correct.

I know all the best people "get" Maxine, but how come every time I look in one of the threads on this blog about the unfolding tragedy she is trying so hard to be a comedian? Can't she do her schtick in different threads for today?

NSC said...

"Well, if you are so frightened of children that you can't face a room of them unless you are armed, I guess we can all thank the good Lord you are not a teacher."

Obviously it is not the room full of children he is worried about. It's the one kid with the gun that is of concern - to both him and the other kids.

But you knew that . . .

As for me, I just today ordered a new "Belly Band" concealment holster - my old one was showing some wear and tear and I, for one, am going to be ready if and when something like this happens around me.

Lucy said...

Hey, how about keeping guns away from people like this? how about GUN CONTROL?

Sloanasaurus said...

If anyone ever asks you if you own a gun... you should always say yes. Why make someone believe that you don't.

Freder Frederson said...

Obviously it is not the room full of children he is worried about. It's the one kid with the gun that is of concern - to both him and the other kids.

And my point is that Sloan seems to believe it is one out of a couple hundred, when in fact it is one out of tens or even hundreds of millions.

Roger said...

Lucy--I am afraid you are going to have to fill in the blanks for me about precisely how we are going to keep guns away from people like this.

And when a person is this deranged, axes, machetes, bats, or automobiles will serve the purpose equally well.

Freder Frederson said...

If anyone ever asks you if you own a gun... you should always say yes. Why make someone believe that you don't.

For what possible reason would I want people to think I own a gun? I am quite confident in my sexuality and do not suffer from ED. If I was worried that somebody was going to burglarize my house, a big dog and a good security system would be a much better deterrent than a gun (after a gun is worthless if you aren't home to use it and that is when 90% of burglaries occur, plus then your gun is going to get stolen, and then you just have one more criminal with a gun).

Besides, if I tell a potential burglar I own a gun, that just gives him one more reason to break into my house when I'm not home (guns are very easy to sell on the street and easy to carry--just the kind of thing a run of the mill burglar wants). I might as well go into a bar and boast I keep thousands of dollars of cash in my house and never lock the doors.

Theo Boehm said...

Springtime for Maxine

LoafingOaf has an excellent point re. Maxine.

Maxine, it's April.  It's a good time to work on your garden.  Spring clean-up.  Aerate the soil.  Put down a little fertilizer.  Check the compost.  Get some loam and fill those holes in the lawn.  Put down grass seed if you need to.  Time to get those annuals in.

My point is that there are plenty of more productive things you could do other than make this thread more stupid and ugly than it is.

So, please, don't touch a computer keyboard for, say, 48 hours.  Then you might come back on another thread and report how the crocuses are doing and whether you have any tulips yet.

Maxine Weiss said...

You won't have me to kick around any more.

reader_iam said...

An article posted at the ABC news site specifies that the killer came to the U.S. (specifically Detroit) with his family when he was 8 years old. He is indeed a "Legal Resident Alien." His family apparently now lives in Virginia, though he lived in a dorm.

I started doing some Googling about crime rates etc. among Asian and Asian-American populations, because I was aware of differences and that they are typically lower. I also started looking into the whole "model minority" discussion and its implications. But it's a big topic and so I'm not ready to address it. Plus, when it comes to mass murderers of the type of Cho Seung-Hui, I think their mental make-up, or whatever, transcends other considerations. In a limited sense, they're simply "freaks," in a category of their own in humanity. Another thing I haven't been able to go into is an impression I have in my mind that (again) when it comes to mass murderers of the type of Cho Seung-Hui, there really isn't a standard profile which correlates to race/ethnicity. I'd need to confirm that. But it's probably where my "transcends" and "category of their own" attitude comes from. Admittedly, that's squishy.

I'm inclined to agree with Roger's comment (the very first one on this thread), which is not to say that mistakes weren't made in this case. Maybe they were, maybe they weren't: I don't think we know enough yet. I just put up a post addressing the latter issue, if anyone's interested.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I was pointing out the paranoia inherent in the concealed carry mindset. Sloan is so afraid of children he can't imagine going into a classroom unless he is packing heat.

Well with all respect Freder, are you referring to children such as grades K-8 or the infantilized teen/adult age 15-military age? I agree I would probably not think 8 year old Johnny in 3rd grade would be a threat however, some of those other ‘children’ such as the Columbine duo were pretty scary.

Never mind that the drive to and from the school is infinitely more dangerous than actually being in the classroom

Or being a victim of a gun crime.

Never mind that being shot by a crazed gunman anywhere (be it at a school, the mall, or the post office)is probably the unlikeliest scenario possible of all horrible accidental ways possible that your life could end.

Indeed. Yet these unlikeliest of scenarios are immediately touted as proof positive that I need to surrender my only means of self defense.

Freder Frederson said...

Well with all respect Freder, are you referring to children such as grades K-8 or the infantilized teen/adult age 15-military age? I agree I would probably not think 8 year old Johnny in 3rd grade would be a threat however, some of those other ‘children’ such as the Columbine duo were pretty scary.

I am referring to all students of any age. You may want to ask Sloan what age group he is afraid of. Look at the statistics. Incidents like this are extremely rare. When they do occur, they certainly get a lot of press, but they are mercifully few and far between. But Sloan apparently thinks teaching is such a dangerous profession he couldn't imagine going into a classroom without a pistol.

Maxine Weiss said...

Go ahead and hate me some more, but I would run. Not sure I'd jump out of a three story building, but I'd definitely abandon the wounded and focus on just saving myself.

Is that cowardly?

Nobody wants to admit that. Self-preservation rules, in all things...even in your worst crisis.

Self-preservation: it's the purest form of survival.

MadisonMan said...

If anyone ever asks you if you own a gun... you should always say yes. Why make someone believe that you don't.

I was always more concerned in making playdates for my kids (back when they wouldn't do it themselves) into a house with guns. This is one time when lying about gun ownership might not be to your benefit, as more than one kid is definitely easier to mind than just one. But if a student asks me, I'll say yes.

I will say that I totally agree with you, though, re: the shooter's story. I do not need to know it. It's a dubious proposition that knowing it will prevent a future spree.

nick danger said...

But Sloan apparently thinks teaching is such a dangerous profession he couldn't imagine going into a classroom without a pistol.

Stop putting words in people's mouths, Freder. It's extremely rude. He said that he would and that there's no reason not to, not that he "couldn't imagine" not doing so. There's a difference between doing something out of prudence and doing it out of fear.

And if you can make your arguments without needlessly wrapping them in ad-hom attacks, I suggest you do so rather than intentionally and needlessly being a dick. Otherwise, you're really just a troll.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Look at the statistics. Incidents like this are extremely rare. When they do occur, they certainly get a lot of press, but they are mercifully few and far between.

No argument there.

But Sloan apparently thinks teaching is such a dangerous profession he couldn't imagine going into a classroom without a pistol

Perhaps, but as you said, the media hype has a tendency to have a psyschological effect in which we all tend to react in extremes. Remember the year of the shark back in 2000? A few headline making shark attacks and you would have thought the beaches were a buffet yet experts were pointing out that year was the lowest number of attacks ever recorded.

I have used a handgun in self defense so I'm biased on gun ownership. I will carry mine depending on where I am going, time, etc but I don't sleep with it under my pillow and like you, don't suffer from ED. I actually had carried mine when I was in college but that was more due to where I attended school versus just wanting to pack heat.

Its a situational thing to be honest. I doubt had I gone to VT I would have carried a weapon so I don't put much weight on if some kid was carrying this might have been mitigated.

Anthony said...

I'm frankly not paying much attention to what the news media is saying about any of this, probably for at least a month or two. After they so badly garbled what happened at Columbine by latching onto a particular narrative ("They were members of the Trenchcoat Mafia! They targeted blacks and jocks!") I don't much believe anything they're reporting.

I suppose Katrina is a more recent example of the media deciding on a narrative and sticking with it regardless of the facts.

I'm even taking the Liviu Librescu story with a handful of salt.

molon_labe_lamp said...

Nick Danger said:
And if you can make your arguments without needlessly wrapping them in ad-hom attacks, I suggest you do so rather than intentionally and needlessly being a dick.

You must be new here.

Kirby Olson said...

The original reports speculated that he was an engineering student. Now it turns out he was an English major. I'd like to know what courses he was taking, and the books in those courses, and how they were presented. Perhaps it's irrelevant, but I'd still be curious. Also, I'd like to hear the impressions of this young man from his English teachers.

reader_iam said...

Cho was an English major whose creative writing was so disturbing that he was referred to the school's counseling service, the Associated Press reported.

Professor Carolyn Rude, chairwoman of the university's English department, said she did not personally know the gunman. But she said she spoke with Lucinda Roy, the department's director of creative writing, who had Cho in one of her classes and described him as "troubled."


From a Chicago Tribune article.

reader_iam said...

The same article talked about Cho having shown signs of recent violence, including setting a fire in a dorm and stalking women.

Revenant said...

This horrific incident may help to shatter some big myths and stereotypes about Asian-American success

First off, could we please not call this guy "Asian-American"? According to the linked article he was a resident alien from South Korea. That makes him "Korean", not "Asian-American". He wasn't an American at all, Asian or otherwise.

Secondly,

Mass shootings like this had been a province of mostly white men, so the killer being Asian (or Asian-American) sure adds complexity to the pattern thus far.

Wikipedia's list of shootings lists seven "lone nut" college campus mass shootings in the last twenty years (killer's ethnicity in parenthesis):

- Virginia Tech (Asian)
- Dawson College (Asian)
- Monash University (Asian)
- Simon's Rock College (Asian)
- Concordia University (Caucasian)
- University of Iowa (Asian)
- École Polytechnique (Caucasian)

There are other campus mass shootings that aren't listed on Wikipedia -- but the above is enough to suggest that Asian shooters are far from unusual.

Sloanasaurus said...

I suppose Katrina is a more recent example of the media deciding on a narrative and sticking with it regardless of the facts.

No kidding. Katrina was the biggest media fraud in history. They jumped at a chance to blame a natural disaster on Bush. The media was very successful at this.

Now they are attempting to blame the cops for these killings. It never ends.

Maxine Weiss said...

The good 'ol days...when there'd be a bomb threat before every final and midterm.

This was back in the 80s and we used to laugh those off as nothing more than a prank to get out of the exam.

I can't even imagine what it's like now.

Peace, Maxine

reader_iam said...

First off, could we please not call this guy "Asian-American"?

I think we should also refrain from calling him, as an individual, "Asian," period, which terms covers a whole lot of area and nationalities (they're not all the same). We know that he's a South Korean national; whether that's useful or not is a different question, but it's surely more useful than the generic "Asian."

Obviously, the term "Asian" in terms of crime rates makes sense, because of how those rates and studies are classified. A different thing.

But as for the guy himself, we can, and should, be more specific--though I still think that his having joined the "rarified" ranks of mass murderers sort of transcends any other classification.

Sloanasaurus said...

a big dog and a good security system would be a much better deterrent than a gun..

They could be, but such luxuries are not options for many Americans. A gun is a lot cheaper than a good security system or guard dog.

Sloanasaurus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maxine Weiss said...

LiveBlogging the Convocation:

Everyone wants to hear from the students, not the Administrators/Bureaucracy, and their platitudes.

Let the students, themselves, speak.

vet66 said...

Maxine is dead on!

The interesting thing I noted was the 'shooters' note describing the "debauchery" occuring in his environment. He shares the third world view of life in the west as immoral, unethical, and Godless.

This sort of thing goes on daily in the Middle East. Fascinating that it is 'shocking' when it happens in the cloistered halls of academia where intellectualism is spiced with nihilism and moral relativism.

It is only a statistic and a talking point until it happens in a 'theater near you'. Multiculturalism brings to our shores people who find some of our cherished behaviors obscene.

This experience is a great tragedy. It goes on daily around the planet. Sadly, the investigations into the pathology of the situation will inevitably reach the conclusion that it could have been prevented.

I am saddened for the loss of innocent lives. I am even sadder that our society has had to face yet again the reality that evil coexists within our wishful innocence

johnstodder said...

Now they are attempting to blame the cops for these killings.

Of course you can't "blame the cops" for these killings. Only one person deserves the blame, and he's dead.

However: It is entirely appropriate to examine why the university officials, both civilian and uniformed, made the decisions they did after the first two murders. Their explanations might improve as things settle down and more facts are known, but their first round of explanations were, to me, outrageous, and the students' anger at them was more than justified.

If nothing else, maybe other universities and schools could benefit from examining what happened here. It's not a political discussion like the tedious gun-control v. guns-for-all debate. It's more procedural.

Hoosier Daddy said...

A gun is a lot cheaper than a good security system or guard dog.

Heh...I don't have to walk my gun every night either.

Actually my wife wanted to have me get a dog as opposed to keeping a gun in the house. The irony is that I am leary of dogs especially around my kids and since I had the gun before I had a wife, the gun won.

Again its an individual thing. Some people are not confortable around guns like I am not comfortable around big dogs. Being a gun owner is definitely not for everyone just like not all people should be behind the wheel of a 2 ton automobile.

MadisonMan said...

He shares the third world view of life in the west as immoral, unethical, and Godless.

Forgive me if I refuse to take a morals lesson from someone who just killed 32 people.

Freder Frederson said...

First off, could we please not call this guy "Asian-American"? According to the linked article he was a resident alien from South Korea. That makes him "Korean", not "Asian-American". He wasn't an American at all, Asian or otherwise.

Well, apparently he was an permanent resident alien (i.e., an immigrant) who has been here since the age of eight. As such he was eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship (the process takes a year or more) when he turned 18, or prior to that after his parents had been resident aliens for five years. A lot of immigrants, for a lot of reasons, do not immediately become citizens when they are eligible. But it is entirely proper to call him an Asian-American. I am sure his story is probably typical of thousands, if not millions of others of immigrants from the Pacific rim.

As I stated above I lived in this country for 26 years (13 years after I could apply independently) before I became a U.S. citizen. My main reason for not becoming a citizen was that the entire process is a pain in the ass, especially if you don't live close to an INS office (which are only in major cities). My parents lived here for 18 years before returning to England when my dad was offered a job back there. I don't think they would have ever taken U.S. citizenship and would have ultimately retired back "home" as England always was, even if the opportunity to return had not presented itself earlier.

Daryl said...

Cho was an English major whose creative writing was so disturbing that he was referred to the school's counseling service, the Associated Press reported.

Wow.

Anyone familiar with English majors knows just how sick their first stories are (usually about murder, bestiality, necrophilia, coprophilia, etc.)

For Mr. Cho to outshine them all in the fucked-up-edness department is scary.

Freder Frederson said...

He shares the third world view of life in the west as immoral, unethical, and Godless.

Man, talk about jumping to conclusions. First of all, I think most South Koreans would be insulted by calling their country "third world". Secondly, he has lived in this country since 1992 and we have absolutely no idea what motivated him. If we're going to stereotype, why don't we just blame video games? After all, Korean kids just love first-person shooters. And it would explain why his aim was so damn good.

Beth said...

Kirby, pray tell, what books in the English curriculum do you think drove this entirely normal young man into the arms of violent insanity?

Freder Frederson said...

Stop putting words in people's mouths, Freder.

Oh that's rich! People put words in my mouth all the time and just make shit up about what I said or didn't say at all. I didn't mischaracterize what Sloan said at all. But just to prove it I will reprint in its entirety what he did say so there is no confusion about how afraid he is of the student population of this country:

"If I were a teacher, I would carry a gun at all times. There is no reason not to. There is always a kid out there who is deranged or mad at the world who will blame you for whatever ills that befalls them.

Schools are selected by evil pricks as places to go and kill people because the liklihood of the victims having guns or the ability to fight back is very low. We should change that formula."

Maxine Weiss said...

Where's Dr. Helen?

The early reports were saying that this was a crime of passion--he was simply a jilted boyfriend, the classic "scorned lover" in all of great literature.

You did know that murder in the heat of passion isn't considered first degree?

So, the Dorm killings were, supposedly second-degree murder in the name of love....

But then it became first-degree once he took it over to the Norris Building and started plotting out more killings---lying in wait.

I'm fascinated by how it goes from simply a crime in the heat of passion, to this very methodical Russian roulette massacre... in only two hours---two hours that the incompetent Administrators did essentially NOTHING !!!! IMHO IMHO IMHO

Peace, Maxine

Kirby Olson said...

Beth, I'm not saying that any books did drive him into the arms of insanity. I'm just curious to know what he was reading, and how he was doing in courses. Like I said, it's probably irrelevant, but I would still like to know.

Books were probably not the problem. I see the problem as at least partially the ready availability of semi-automatic weapons.

Kirby Olson said...

In short, I think it's the second amendment rather than the first amendment that's at fault here.

That said: I'd still like to know what he was reading and writing.

But then, I poured over the Son of Sam's poems after they were published.

Big drops of lead/
Poured down on his head

Is a line I half-remember over the decades....

Beth said...

Kirby, I'd be more curious to see what he was writing than what he was reading. If he had some sort of break with reality, I don't think you and I would get the same message from what he was reading as he did.

I own a gun, but I share you concern about how easy it is for him to have gotten these, and if he was able to shoot up to 30 rounds before reloading. Someone argued he could have just used an axe or a club, but that makes no sense. He couldn't kill 32 people with blunt force or stabbing, and someone with an axe, club or knife can be more readily subdued by people willing to risk harm than someone wielding two guns with extended clips. That's my opinion, and it isn't newly formed in reaction to this incident. But right now, I'm not up to debating it. The victims and their families deserve respect right now.

Beth said...

The gun argument will continue, no doubt. While I'm unhappy with how easy it is to get guns that can fire lots of rounds, I'm also quite comfortable considering the pros and cons of whether I should be allowed to bring my gun to campus. I've had it my car when I taught late night classes, but I've never removed it and carried it with me.

Sloanasaurus said...

If I were a teacher, I would carry a gun at all times. There is no reason not to

These things are common sense. Some people are at more risk in our society. If I were a vey attractive woman, I would consider carrying a gun. Likewise, any job that puts you in a position of power with the ability to seriously affect the lives of others through arbitrary decisions requires some preparation for self defense. If I were a judge or a prosecutor I would carry a gun. Maybe I would carry one if I worked in the unemployment or welfare office. If I were a gardner or accountant, maybe I would not.

Maxine Weiss said...

"I thought you didn't believe that there was such a thing as mental illness. So how do you propose identifying "crazies" and "losers", especially since you consider any psychological workup a crock?"---Freder

It's now coming out that the shooter was on anti-depressants. Clearly, psychotropic "medications" don't work.

Maxine Weiss said...

Both Columbine and Virginia Tech, the shooters were taking "anti-depressants".

historyman said...

First off, could we please not call this guy "Asian-American"? According to the linked article he was a resident alien from South Korea. That makes him "Korean", not "Asian-American". He wasn't an American at all, Asian or otherwise.

Sure, technically he wasn't American, so I agree with you. But he spent more than half his life here and was probably familiar enough with American culture (or some parts of it). So we are facing mixed categorizations.

At any rate, having brought up the "Asian" and "Asian American" reference, I now agree with reader_iam and others that it's best to refrain from such references.

Wikipedia's list of shootings lists seven "lone nut" college campus mass shootings in the last twenty years (killer's ethnicity in parenthesis):

- Virginia Tech (Asian)
- Dawson College (Asian)
- Monash University (Asian)
- Simon's Rock College (Asian)
- Concordia University (Caucasian)
- University of Iowa (Asian)
- École Polytechnique (Caucasian)

There are other campus mass shootings that aren't listed on Wikipedia -- but the above is enough to suggest that Asian shooters are far from unusual.


As noted in my 9:43AM post, there had been Asian shooters before and this is hardly the first time. But the Iowa case involved murder-suicide of people the killer knew. Simon's Rock and Monash cases involved murders without suicides - killers surrendered to police after killing a handful of people in each case. Only the Dawson (Montreal) case last year resembled VT case: murder-suicide of mostly strangers. (The Dawson killer killed only one but injured many. Mercifully, he was shot by the police before doing further damage, at which point he shot himself.)

The VT killings seems to have a combination of victim the killer knew (first victim) and and didn't know. At this time, it seems a little unusual to me.

For now, I can only imagine the horror that the parents of Cho Seuing-Hui must have felt. God have mercy!

Roger said...

Irrespective of the assailant's nationality, the fact remains that the man was deranged. As much as we might wish otherwise, people suffer from mental illness; it's a hazard of life. In a perfect world, we would screen all people and identify precursors; we would have all of the protective mechanisms in place; unfortunately, life doesnt carry that degree of uncertainty.

Perhaps we just have difficulty in dealing with what is demonstrably a terrible, but ultimately, random event the ultimate cause of which were the personal demon's in one person's mind. How does society defend itself from that eventuality?

Sloanasaurus said...

It has already started. Now you can read the guy's plays online.

You can't get famous on your own... why not just become a mass murderer. Then people will pay attention to you. We should not try to understand this guy. His name should not be repeated, his face should not shown, and his "art" should not be reproduced. Instead his picture should be replaced by that of a tapeworm.

ModNewt said...

Maxine said: Clearly, psychotropic "medications" don't work.

Clearly you are talking about something you know little or nothing about (I guess that makes 2 things; this incident and psychiatry). Most GPs will prescribe Paxil, Wellbutrin, etc. to someone who merely asks for it.

A properly trained psychiatrist who has time to evaluate a patient has a variety of medications (ignoring other techniques) to treat people like this who clearly have bigger psychological problems than mild depression.

And before someone starts railing on me, I have no idea what this kids problems were or weren't and obviously it is irrelevant now. Maxine's asinine statements are what I was responding to.

Kirby Olson said...

Beth, you sound right on all topics. I haven't ever owned or shot a gun, but if I taught late, and was female, I almost certainly would own a gun.

A friend of mine -- male -- told me he was subbing in a high school in Brooklyn when some student snapped off the light, and students creamed him with their history books. He was in a coma for several months.

Maybe we'll end up like airline pilots having to carry a weapon or maybe we'll just end up teaching everything on-line.

But generally I still feel that most students are quite well-behaved and have good intentions. This student was singular, and had been noticed by his teachers and singled out as especially dangerous.

That's quite unusual. Maybe next time the administration will pay closer attention when a teacher is concerned about a student. I have never had a student who has worried me like this in twenty years teaching. The worst I can say is that they click their pens too much and that unnerves me enough never mind firing live ammo at me.

I just think this is really incredibly rare. Most students are on a positive track and think well both of their teachers and of their fellow students. I really think that's the norm.

Revenant said...

A lot of immigrants, for a lot of reasons, do not immediately become citizens when they are eligible. But it is entirely proper to call him an Asian-American.

"Entirely proper" if you overlook the fact that he wasn't an American.

And who gives a shit that a twenty-three year old might have "a lot of reasons" for living in America without bothering to actually become an American? I have a lot of reasons for not having learned to play the guitar -- that doesn't mean I get to call myself a guitarist. There's absolutely no reason to give this murderous foreigner an honor did didn't earn while he was alive.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

what books in the English curriculum do you think drove this entirely normal young man into the arms of violent insanity?


Great Expectations. That was enough to almost turn me off of reading anything, ever again, when forced to read that boring piece of ....

Beth said...

Kirby, just to clarify, I've never worried about any of my students, either. I carried my gun in my car because of a long drive home at 11 pm, through some rough neighborhoods.

One semester I had a student who had taken out a protection order against an ex-boyfriend and he stalked her on campus a few times. That made me think about what I'd do if he came to our classroom; fortunately, that was a computer classroom with a door that requires a code and key to open.

Kirk said...

Sloanasaurus:

"Some people are at more risk in our society. If I were a vey attractive woman, I would consider carrying a gun.... If I were a gardner or accountant, maybe I would not."

Guess again.

Plus, what's with "very attractive"? Plenty of just-average-looking women get raped and assaulted, you know.

Kirk said...

Kirby,

Are you expecting to perhaps find this year's jungen Werther or something?

Synova said...

Daryl: "Anyone familiar with English majors knows just how sick their first stories are (usually about murder, bestiality, necrophilia, coprophilia, etc.)

For Mr. Cho to outshine them all in the fucked-up-edness department is scary."

From what I heard he *didn't* outshine them all and the person (his teacher?) interviewed said that it was hard to tell if a student was being "creative" or writing what they thought was real... or something like that.

What I find interesting is that we're supposed to not use this tragedy to promote our political agenda about guns, and that focusing on race issues is supposedly taking the high ground?

Egad.

The guy wasn't right in the head. This has nothing to do with the fact he was from Korea.

There *are* plenty of instances where an attack is political or religious or in some way *does* relate to the race, religion or ethnicity of the attacker. There is no indication that this case is like that.

As for gun control, it's probably less of an issue about the final outcome and death toll than the fact that we teach people to be helpless.

As a fellow advocating gun control said on a show, "call a cop."

Revenant said...

As a fellow advocating gun control said on a show, "call a cop."

Of course, all the cops I know own their own guns and advise other people to do the same... so that should be "call a cop, but don't ask what THEY think about private firearms ownership", maybe.

PatCA said...

I agree with Roger--he was clearly deranged. All I can safely say is that people from other cultures have different features in their psychoses than we do. I myself give wide berth to students from shame/honor-based cultures who seem too tightly wound.

I think college can be a cauldron of youth, heartbreak, and pressure, affecting people who are boundary-less and who are not equipped yet to handle it. More privacy rights or freedom or tolerance will not prevent another incident, but real analysis of other cultures and of these not-yet-adults might.

PatCA said...

I also think it's stupid to declare a campus a gun-free zone and the leave it completely open to all comers.

This law school story would seem to support licensed carriers: Appalachian Law School

Kirby Olson said...

There are two plays online now. They both describe an older male molesting or harassing a younger male, and there is seemingly a lot of anger about it.

Bruce Hayden said...

Freder (I think, w/o rereading the entire thread).

The problem with a dog is that they are far more likely to negligently cause harm than are guns. Somewhere between 100x and 1000x. Dogs injure a lot of kids each year, and kill a lot more accidently than do guns. Esp. little kids, who don't know how to act around dogs, etc. So, having a dog is fine, as long as neither you nor your neighbors have small kids.

Note I said "negligently". This does not apply to the gang banger who accidently hits someone a block away when he does a drive by. In tort, at best, that is grossly negligent, and in criminal law, if he kills someone, it is usually 2nd Degree.

As to burlar alarms, they have a horid false positive rate - as I well know, having paid the fine for excess alarms too many times. Besides, how long does it take your police to respond?

I am reminded of a time about 20 years ago when we saw some suspicious behavior across the street in Denver and called it in as a burlary in progress (which it was). Well, about 20 minutes later, about 5 police cars show up at once - and the burglars were well away.

As to knowledge that you have a gun in the house, yes, if you live where you realistically can't get a concealed carry permit (i.e. most major cities), then maybe you can assume that the gun is there when you aren't. But in the majority of the states now with mandatory issue CC laws, you can't make that assumption.

Freder Frederson said...

As to knowledge that you have a gun in the house, yes, if you live where you realistically can't get a concealed carry permit

The original issue was that Sloan said you should always say you own a gun even if you don't. I think this is patently ridiculous. I don't see any good reason to own a gun. In the case of preventing burglary, the only case when a gun is of the least utility is if you happen to be home when the burglar breaks in (and even then there are all manner of circumstances when it might not help). And that is by far the minority of burglaries. (In that case Sloan's advice might actually be valid, but it is hardly a case of "always" saying you have a gun.) If you keep guns in the house, they are actually a attraction to burglars.

Actually, the entire premise is rather bizarre. I don't think I have ever had a conversation in my life where it would have been either necessary, appropriate or even pertinent to work into the conversation, "oh by the way, I own guns, lots of guns, in fact I'm carrying one now".

Pete the Streak said...

Freder:I don't think I have ever had a conversation in my life where it would have been either necessary, appropriate or even pertinent to work into the conversation, "oh by the way, I own guns, lots of guns, in fact I'm carrying one now".

Don't think I've ever heard that exact phrasing myself, so you may be correct.

However, if you never been in a conversation about gun ownership where one or more participants acknowledges owning a gun, well.....

You truly need to get out more, and to expand your circle of conversationalists. Echo chambers enrich none of us.

ModNewt said...

I have a 4 year old daughter who has started getting invites for "play dates" from her preschool friends. I rarely know the parents other than that I see them when dropping my daughter off to school.

I always ask the parents if there is a gun in their house. The one time the parent said "yes" my daughter didn't get to go on the play date. That rule will stand.

If students were were allowed to have weapons on campus at VT or any other school, I wouldn't allow my kid to go there. I suppose he/she could go if she wanted to pay for it themselves, but I would have no part of it.