Cho Seung-Hui Against All: On Societies Need to Ostracize the Ill

“These wars, famines, floods and quakes meet well-defined needs. Man wants chaos. In fact, he’s gotta have it. Depression, strife, riots, murder, all this dread. We’re irresistibly drawn to that almost orgiastic state created out of death and destruction. It’s in all of us. We revel in it. Sure, the media tries to put a sad face on these things, painting them up as great human tragedies. But we all know the function of the media has never been to eliminate the evils of the world, no. Their job is to persuade us to accept those evils and get used to living with them. The powers that be want us to be passive observers.” - Waking Life

Unfortunately, I haven’t kept up all that much with the recent (April 17, 2007) shootings in Virginia. However, I’ve seen and heard a disturbing trend, namely the dehumanizing and ostracizing of the shooter, Cho Seung-Hui. Quite frankly, this is disturbing.

What’s truly disturbing about this situation is that no one seems to realize exactly what they’re doing. While it’s true that the killing of 32 people is regrettable, that does not give anyone the right to ‘erase’ the killer.

If we assume, and we can do so safely, that there are no effects without a cause, then there was in fact a reason that Cho acted as he did.

From the small amount that I’ve been able to find on him - and most of that came about after he had done the shooting - we can see that he was troubled man. Cho also had a difficult time communicating with others, and seemed to have few friends. Seemingly, based upon the snippets of the video that I’ve read about, he believed that individuals were causing, or threatening to cause, him and his family harm.

Cho has also been examined by mental health officials, and has written materials that contained violent material that have been read by a large (as in, more than just a handful of friends) amount of people.

To me, and I don’t think any are denying this, that suggests that Cho was someone who may be ill and require assistance to combat his problems. Whether Cho received any assistance is unknown, but clearly he did not receive all that he required.

Of course, that’s not to say that anyone who writes violent or macabre stories will act out those stories. But, sometimes there does need to be an outside hand helping to direct this energy. Perhaps the media is covering this up, but it seems like that helping hand was either too little, or non-existent. Based upon the number of interviews with individuals that knew Cho, it seems that there was probably only a couple of small hands, instead of a community of large hands, so to speak. Yet, it’s not the responsibility of the community to make sure that each of it’s members is healthy, is it?

Now that Cho has killed 32 people, the victims family and friends are rallying against Cho, or so the media would have us believe. Some are so extreme as to suggest that Cho be ‘erased’ by not even speaking his name.

Is this truly acceptable behaviour? Should Cho be forgotten, and his works destroyed, or can he serve as an important lesson, one that we (id est, society) keep forgetting?

I know that I’m not alone in believing that Cho is being destroyed, quite incorrectly, but what do you think? I look forward to your comments.

Edit: Looking for something else, I noticed some really great comments regarding this on another site.