Shooting at Virginia Tech


Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2006
I was shocked to hear about the shooting at Virginia Tech yesterday. I know details are still sketchy, but I can't help wondering what would cause someone to go on a shooting spree and kill over 30 people. It just doesn't make any sense to me.

I feel so bad for all the families that have lost their kids. It's just tragic. :frown:
When people go insane, it is hard for the rest of us to ever make sense of it. From what I'm hearing, the boy/man was quite disturbed yet it wasn't picked up on. Here again, we question how much we do or don't intefer in other's lives.
This incident has caused a ripple across the country, that's for sure. My university (in New York) held a vigil today, and has sent out mass emails to all students re-informing us of safety measures on campus.
Wow, it's so nice and quiet here. By which I mean over on the LJ community, I've seen a few (and expect there to be hundreds of thousands more) litanies.

A note: all the programs and reports I've seen on the incident either detail accusations of, or assert some institutional failure to alert students. I think this is unreasonable to do, and moreover would be the expected reaction of people looking to hindsight for scapegoats.

Then there's the issue of gun control that's erupted too. To pre-empt comments on this (I think there's also already a separate thread on it), I think the important things to remember is that a) we're living beings b) guns already exist. Simple, no?
I was reading an article this morning. The people that the shooter roomed with said he'd always been a loner, not really sociable, and wouldn't look people in the eyes. They also said they had never seen any weapons.

Another comment was made that he had been taking medication for depression. I'm wondering how much the medication might have been responsible. It's proven that the side effects of anti-depression medication exacerbates the problem and can cause people to "go off the deep end." So, is the medical community right in giving out these medications knowing that they can cause the symptoms to get worse? Just a thought.
In no way do I want to diminish the mental state of the shooter, but in a country of as many people as we have with mental health not being dealt with head on, this is bound to happen. It had nothing to do with the legality of guns ...this guy would have managed a couple somehow. As in the case of the Amish school shooter, when a person goes mad, they are hard to stop.

There's a lot of second guessing going on about how the case was handled. It's human to try to place blame. But in this case, there is no place to put blame really.
I am astounded that they are giving the shooter his "moment in the sun" by playing the footage of his video explaination on every channel in every news bulletin. I do not understand why we need to hear the rantings of this mad man. We knew he had issues when he started pulling the trigger over and over again.
I agree, powerhouse. It seems that when something tragic like this happens, the person who was responsible for the crime gets more "air play" than the victims that they killed. Why not give some time to the heroic professor who probably saved the lives of countless students by attempting to stop Cho? Why not give the parents who lost their children something to help heal, instead of continually shoving in their way the face of the one who took their child's life? It doesn't make sense to me.
I am still having trouble processing all of this and probably will for some time to come. This is not the time in my opinion to be trying to place blame or turn it into a lobby for gun control. People have lost loved ones in a terrible manner. Right now, that strikes me as the real place to foucs attention and offer support.
I to was shocked to see the videos. I mean if you choose to show them fine but does it have to be 24-7? I think that overall something more has to be done to help people with mental illness'. To be honest until this happened I didn't really understand how hard it can be to get someone help. Especially if they are of age. Just like in this case I understand that you don't want to tell everyone his medical problems but when he was deemed a danger to himself the law states that you cannot notify the college if he is attending one. I just feel that they should have been notified to at least keep an eye on him even just for his own benefit if not for the benifit of the other students.
What concerns me is the turmoil the families must be going through. I don't blame a couple o the families that have decided NOT to do their interviews with NBC after they showed the video the shooter made. I think it was in poor taste, and disrespectful of the people who lost their lives.
Here in Europe, they showed parts of it. I saw most on CNN, but they are not repeating it. I found them realli disturbing, The guy was a psycho. Unfortunately so many innocents have to die. I feel terrible for the families. He could've killed himself in an incredible way if he wanted to make history.
I find the paradoxical thing about all of this, the event being merely a reflection of a greater reality, is that in terms of sociopathy, some are not understood because they are not understandable, loosely speaking.

What Cho needed was something that this world, by large, finds it difficult to comprehensively give to each and everybody who needs it most: an environment and people who will be able to actually connect with him. To certain peoples' credit, attempts were made in this case, but unfortunately they were insufficient to avert this tragedy.

I would like to claim that I am capable of understanding the kind of situation that Cho may have found himself in. I have known people who have, to a certain extent, fit this kind of profile, and I myself was described as one of them. I was angry with the world, heavily misanthropic (not anymore), given to writing disturbing literature (still do :D), loved martial arts (more than ever now!), and was bipolar (still am!) The big difference in my case is that despite various environmental stresses (a horribly strained relationship with my mother at that point in time), I found people whom I could engage with, so that even if I had taken to locking myself away, there was that little smidgen of hope in my fantasies that yes, "somebody out there could understand me". Finding those people really helped.

Sociopathy is a useful term to a limited extent- as a clinical guideline of sorts to describe people who are given, for whatever reason, to antisocial or maladaptive behaviors (since the bulk of our life is preoccupied with how we might observe the various conditions that allow us to live in societies). However, it must be stressed that for whatever predisposition this or genetics that one may be called "susceptible to sociopathy", the biggest and necessary determinant is one's environment (this is now strongly empirically suggested, too.) That we rely on artificial institutions for "treatment" produces some good results, but IMO is not optimal- this indicates that we as a whole should work on becoming more understanding and accepting, so that some may not feel so alienated, and feel compelled to act out in such ways as Cho did.

I don't think this will happen, however, not in the near future. Humans have a consistent track record of suspending social institutions, and tribal self/not-self mentality is a cornerstone of our cognitions.


Also, I noticed that the CNN etc. coverage was extremely heavy. Whilst the crits of such behavior I read seemed shallow and blinkered...I mean this:

Police investigating the shootings in Blacksburg, Virginia, were also critical. "We're rather disappointed in the editorial decision to broadcast these disturbing images," state police chief Colonel Steve Flaherty said.

"The world has endured a view of life that few of us would or should ever have to endure," he said.
It's that last sentence that I find interesting. Nonetheless, I do think that, given the times, the heavy coverage struck me as quite irresponsible.
I think NBC raced to show the footage and I think it will whip back and kick them in the ass. Of course, they're known for that these days (Imus fiasco).
Seems that NBC is doing a lot of things that aren't the most intelligent lately. Makes you wonder if they're considering the ramifications of things rather than just trying to scoop everyone else?