Thursday, April 26, 2007

sympathy for the devil

Well, it's been a little while since that fateful day when a young and very angry Korean resident alien shot-up Virginia Tech, firing something on the order of 170+ rounds of ammunition during a romp through Norris hall, unleashing death and destruction like some sort of devil incarnate.

Let me state for the record that this I deplore and condemn the actions of Cho Seung-Hui, and find it to be a work of despicable evil. His actions cannot be justified, nor admired by any reasonable human being. But then again, this was not the act of a reasonable human being, at least not from my perspective.

My interest is the Virginia Tech shooting is simple: I don't want to ever see this happen again, and one of the best ways to understand how to prevent this is to understand what caused the killer to do what he did.

While everyone and his brother are throwing the "psychopath" label at Cho, I hesitate to do so for a very simple reason: it does not really explain anything.

While it has been discovered that Cho was diagnosed as being mentally ill, there does not seem to be any information as to what he was diagnosed with. According to information that I've seen, it seems that Cho was extremely depressed and suicidal. Also, it seems that he was diagnosed with autism when he was a child, which is something that does not go away when one gets older.

Autism often has other psychological disorders that go along with it. Hence, Cho was probably dealing with more than just autism. But please don't mistake autism for being retarded: children and adults with autism can be very intelligent, and many, with proper help, can lead fairly normal lives. But getting proper help is the key.

I have a feeling that Cho Seung-Hui never got the help and support that those who suffer with autism need, especially when they are young. It is also a fact that Cho was regularly on the wrong end of quite a bit of bullying and name calling when he was young, which is not unusual at all for those who suffer from mental illness. Take from a parent: children can be rather evil and demonic when it comes to bullying and mistreating other kids, especially those who are weaker or a bit strange. Children are not born civilized, they are not nice people.

Bullying and name-calling is difficult to handle when you are mentally sound, but when you are under the burden of something like autism, it can be very, very difficult to deal with. Autistic people, frustrated with their inability to fit in or even have the control of their bodies and minds like normal people do, can easily get worked up into a rage, and they can hurt others. This is nothing new. They simply do not have the self-control nor the ability to deal with conflict like the rest of us, anyone who has worked with autistic people/children can testify to that.

I'm one of the few people who was glad to hear that Cho left a manifesto, small portions of which MSNBC has made public. (I'm also probably the only person who would like to examine the entire manifesto, and not just snippets that MSNBC feels we should be allowed to see.)

When Cho expresses himself in his own words, there are three things that are very obvious: he was very angry, he was very depressed, and he had a difficult time expressing himself verbally. It is also evident that he was an intelligent person, proven by his choice of firearms (Glock & Walther), his use of technology, and the way he was able to plan his mission of vengeance. He even made time to go to the post office and overnight a package to MSNBC, in between killing people.

For Cho, the killings were not an act of terrorism or the mad ravings of a lunatic, rather he believed that he was avenging himself, along with all others in this life that end up on the wrong end of bullies and snobs. He mentions the persecution and bullying he was subject to, and explains quite clearly that he is now going to be doing a bit of bullying himself.

I myself can clearly remember a time when some little pipsqueak wanted to have some fun at my expense. At first I just tried to ignore the person, but that just seemed to encourage him all the more. I said nothing and did nothing in my defense, but he just continued to carry on. Then something in me just had enough, and I grabbed the little squirt by the neck, and proceeded to choke him, which had the immediate effect of stopping his increasingly insulting monologue. While I did not break his neck, nor choke him to death, I very easily could have, and was very much tempted to do so. Needless to say, after I put the fear of God into him, he never felt felt impressed to ridicule me again.

I bring that up to say this: people can be ridiculed and insulted into violence, even if they themselves are not violent by nature. Do this to someone who is having a hard enough time dealing with mental illness and flush with hormones, and you have the makings of one very angry, vengeful person, who will think nothing of killing his fellow man, and himself.

It was obvious that Cho was not just "picked on," but it is clear from the news reports and Cho's own writings that he was subject to constant ridicule and abuse, and was getting quite tired of it. He does not mention who is tormentors are by name, at least not in the information we have, but that many not be relevant.

What is relevant is that we live in a society and culture that glorifies those who kill for vengeance. We glorify all sorts of bad behavior, foul language, and rebellious attitudes. Then we all act very shocked and dismayed when someone actually acts out this behavior in public. Well, what did we expect? We reap what we sow, and Cho is just some of the first fruits of what is looking like a bumber crop.

Friedrich Nietzsche, no matter what you think of the man, was quite prophetic in his forsight in terms of seeing that the 20th century was going to be one of the most violent ever, thanks mainly to the increasing acceptance of a atheistic, nihilistic world view. After the past 100 years, you would think that such a world view would be tossed in the ash heap of history, but instead it has grown even stronger, even more bold, and it's already looking like the 21st century will make the 20th look like picnic in the park by comparison; especially since nuclear, chemical and biological weapons are within easy reach of even the lowiliest thug.

Cho, and those like him are a product of a culture than has grown increasingly narcissistic. It doesn't matter how poorly or badly we made Cho feel, it only matters that we made ourselves better by ridiculing him. Even in death, he cannot escape our collective ridicule and disdain.

Yes, I do condemn Cho's actions on that fateful April day at Virgina Tech, but I refrain from condemning Cho himself. Rather, I feel great sadness, both for him and those who were the object of his wrath.

But for those who were guilty of the systematic bullying of Cho, for them I have no sympathy at all. The earth would be a much better place without them.

May God have mercy on Cho's soul.

"Not by wrath does one kill, but by laughter."
Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra



Orestes said...

You talk about the evil of bullying which is good, and then you a heightist phrase like "little pipsqueak," a phrase that I as a short male was subjected to, and a phrase Cho as a short male may have been subjected to, when I bullied.

juan said...

well, just something quick and short and some brief thoughts.
i’m also very sorry for Seung Hui Cho.
a)he knew what he was doing. it wasn’t only because of hate,mental disorder,desperation,easy access to guns,extreme violence culture influence,temptation of great media impact in the world,inmigrant inferiority complex or discrimination,economical or social class,humillation-bulling-harrasment, etc…
C)there must be up to 200 million people like him with certain mental disorders in the world(not depression) who suffer from systematic isolation and humillation,bulling among other things.
d)the people are mean, it’s human nature.there’s a cruel socialdarwinsm which the “normal” people are not willing to recognize.
e)people like Seung Hui Cho aren’t organized in a comunity.this is a wake up call for them and for the “normals”
f)i respect human lives and don’t support his actions but i understand his motives
g)i propose to all like him to shave their hair like he did as a symbol to show that they exist and need respect…

theodicy said...


The "little pipsqueak" I was referring to was a first class bully. I could think of a lot more colorful names to call him, but "little pipsqueak" seemed to be most appropriate.

While I refuse to ridicule and condemn those who are weak, shy, or disadvantaged in some way, I do not mind ridiculing bullies at all. If more people ridiculed them, there would be a lot less bullies to ridicule, as bullies don't like bad publicity, or to be thought bad of, as perverse as that sounds.

<>< TM

Orestes said...

Your desire to want to ridicule bullies is understandable. However, your use of such heightist terminology is quite unfair and unfortunate imo.

From my perusal of your blog, I think you are a good person and person of good faith who is just not familiar with the issue of heightism, and its possible impact on Cho and ultimately V-Tech.

For your information, I offer the following:

Thanks and all the best.